As Americans Diet Less, Weight Loss Industry Worries More
It is a trend that has been in effect for some years now, and the weight
loss industry is feeling the pinch more than ever. Americans are dieting
Following the diet peak in 1991 when about one in every three Americans
was on board the weight-loss trolley, there has been a steady decline in
diet-minded folks. Only 19 percent of Americans are currently on
diets, the lowest number since the market research company, The NPD Group, has been tracking weight loss behaviors over the last three decades.
In January of 2012, it was reported that Americans who chose to diet
were sticking to the plan for shorter periods. Only 23 percent
of women reported dieting at some point in 2012 compared to 35
percent in 1992. Data also showed that American attitudes regarding what
an attractive weight is had changed. Twenty-three percent of people polled in 2012 said that people who were not overweight were more attractive, down from 55 percent in 1985.
One of the explanations offered was that people made the choice to
become more accepting of their bodies rather than endure the
difficulties of behavioral change and diet.
Another Explanation for the Decline of Dieting
While there may be truth in the contention that people prefer acceptance
over change, there also is a less pessimistic explanation. People - muself included - might simply be eating healthier.
In January of 2013, 55 percent of people reported
they were trying to lose weight. This percentage was much
higher than the number of people who claimed to be on a diet. It
was therefore assumed that people were still trying to lose weight,
although they were not referring to their efforts as dieting.
While fewer people may be dieting, research has shown that those who are dieting stick to them for longer periods. In 2004, 22 percent of dieters reported sticking to their diets for more than a year. By 2012 the percentage rose to 27.
The Hurt in the Weight Loss Industry
Regardless of explanations and possibilities, the bottom line for the
weight loss industry is that business is down. The 61 billion
dollar industry is feeling the "ouch" from shifting American attitudes.
Spending on diets has diminished because of the recession, and revenues
for the weight-loss industry increased by only 1.7 percent in 2012.
Weight Watchers has reported a third quarter decline of 8.5 percent
compared to a year earlier, and stock dropped by 38 percent in 2013.
Many dieters are opting for a minimum cost do-it-yourself approach and
are self-directing by using diet websites, OTC diet pills, meal
replacements and diet books. Data collected in 2012 showed that 82 percent of dieters preferred a self-directed program. The number is close to the all time high.
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