Changing Attitudes About Dieting and Weight

According to a recent survey of 3,800 adults done by NPD Market Research, 23% of women reported being on a diet in 2012, a decline of 13% versus those who said they were dieting in 1992. Some theorize the change in attitudes about dieting reflects the fact that more people are changing their lifestyles permanently, making something as temporary as “dieting” passé. “The newer thinking is personal empowerment for change, and making small changes over time that are doable for the individual,” says Madelyn Fernstrom, weight and nutritional expert at the the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

And it isn’t just attitudes about dieting that are changing. In 1985, 55% of Americans agreed that people who are not overweight look a lot more attractive. Now, only one in four agree.

Commenting on the rapid shift of attitudes on this topic, Henry Balzer, NPD’s chief food industry analyst, notes that “not many things…have moved as quickly as this.” But the answer may be as easy as this: As we got heavier as a nation over the last 20 years, our tolerance for people carrying extra weight increased. Bigger bodies, bigger hearts.

Click here to read the NPR story.

Tape measure image © Simon Eugster / Wikimedia.