Sixty-two percent of adult Americans are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control. More than 9 million children and teenagers are suffering the same problems. An increase in fast food consumption, coupled with low physical activity, largely contribute to the problem. Given those facts, it's no surprise that dieting and weight loss are common issues among people of all ages.
Up to 50 percent of women are on a diet at any given time, according to Judy Mahle Lutter in her book "The Bodywise Woman." Up to 90 percent of teenagers diet regularly, and up to 50 percent of younger kids have tried a diet at some point.
Weight Loss Industry
Americans spend more money in dieting, dieting products and weight loss surgery than any other people in the world. According to Marketdata, Americans spent $46.3 billion in weight loss products in 2004, the last year a survey was conducted. The numbers are expected to continue to grow significantly every year.
Many of the beliefs related to dieting and weight loss are erroneous. For example, it makes no difference whether you eat your calories at night or during the day. It's the total number of calories you consume throughout the day that makes or breaks your diet. Another common myth is that carbohydrates are the enemy. The truth is that complex carbs such as whole grains, brown rice and unsweetened cereals are excellent sources of fiber and can help with weight loss. Simple carbs like sugars and highly processed grains and flours are the problem.
According to data published by the University of Colorado, 35 percent of people who start by dieting occasionally become addicted to dieting. As of 1990, the average dieting age for girls was 8 years old. That's down from 14 in 1970.