Fed-up Americans seek their healthy weight

Articles
October 27, 2008

Fed-up Americans seek their healthy weight

After decades of diet frustrations, supermodel worship, and cheerful yet annoying phrases like “thin is in,” dieters across the U.S. are recalibrating their personal weight targets. These new individual goals are based on the weights dieters associate with feeling good and healthy—rather than Body Mass Index or a narrow range of weights thought to be ideal for their frames. Since dieters see these goals as attainable, they’re motivated to initiate diets. This is a different mindset than in the past. “People appear to be taking a new and different approach because they’ve not been satisfied with past diet attempts, and they understood the importance of being at a healthy weight,” stated a new NPD Group report, Weighing in on the American Diet: A Report on the Health and Weight Management Habits of Americans, done for the Milk Processor Education Program, the group behind the “Why Milk” campaign.

After decades of diet frustrations, supermodel worship, and cheerful yet annoying phrases like “thin is in,” dieters across the U.S. are recalibrating their personal weight targets.  These new individual goals are based on the weights dieters associate with feeling good and healthy—rather than Body Mass Index or a narrow range of weights thought to be ideal for their frames. Since dieters see these goals as attainable, they’re motivated to initiate diets.

This is a different mindset than in the past.  “People appear to be taking a new and different approach because they’ve not been satisfied with past diet attempts, and they understood the importance of being at a healthy weight,” stated a new NPD Group report, Weighing in on the American Diet: A Report on the Health and Weight Management Habits of Americans, done for the Milk Processor Education Program, the group behind the “Why Milk” campaign.

If indeed shoppers are more comfortable in their own skin, and are developing healthier relationships with food, weight and appearance, food marketers and retail nutritionists would do well to acknowledge this in their messaging, assortments and displays, while providing dieters with what they need to succeed.

The report shows what’s going on with dieters today:
• 29% of women and 19% of men currently diet, down from 36% of women and 23% of men a decade ago.
• 34% of dieters choose “my own” diet versus 9% who follow extreme diets such as modified fasts, severe calorie restrictions or elimination of entire food groups.
• Dieters said a healthy weight was when they: physically feel good (62%), feel healthier (45%), can be active (39%), feel better about myself (38%), and stay within a small range of ideal weight (27%).