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Am J Prev Med. 2004 Jun;26(5):402-6.

Attempting to lose weight: specific practices among U.S. adults.

Author information

  • 1Center for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity, Atlanta, Georgia 30341-3724, USA. ezk0@cdc.gov

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Americans spend over $33 billion annually on weight-loss products and services. Although weight-control methods are of considerable public health interest, few national data on weight-loss practices are available. This paper examines the prevalence of specific weight-loss practices among U.S. adults trying to lose weight.

METHODS:

Data from the 1998 National Health Interview Survey, which was conducted through face-to-face interviews of a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults (n =32,440), were analyzed in 2003.

RESULTS:

Twenty-four percent of men and 38% of women were trying to lose weight. Attempting weight loss was less common among normal weight (body mass index [BMI]<25 kg/m(2)) people (6% men, 24% women) than overweight (BMI>/=25 to 30 kg/m(2)) people (28%, 49%) or obese (BMI>/=30 kg/m(2)) people (50%, 58%). Among those trying to lose weight, the most common strategies were eating fewer calories (58% men, 63% women); eating less fat (49%, 56%); and exercising more (54%, 52%). Less frequent strategies were skipping meals (11% men, 9% women); eating food supplements (5%, 6%); joining a weight-loss program (3%, 5%); taking diet pills (2%, 3%); taking water pills or diuretics (1%, 2%); or fasting for >/=24 hours (0.6%, 0.7%). Only one third of all those trying to lose weight reported eating fewer calories and exercising more.

CONCLUSIONS:

Increased efforts are needed among all those trying to lose weight to promote effective strategies for weight loss, including the use of calorie reduction and increased physical activity.

PMID:
15165656
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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