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J Am Diet Assoc. 2002 Sep;102(9):1247-51.

Americans on diet: results from the 1994-1996 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals.

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Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University, 6400 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70808, USA.



To examine the prevalence of dieting to lose weight or for a health reason in a representative sample of US adults.


Cross-sectional study design.


Data from 10,144 participants of the 1994-1996 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals (CSFII 1994-1996) were used in the analysis. All data were self-reported.


Analysis included: cross-tabulation of dieting status by sociodemographic characteristics; comparison of the type of diet, the reason for dieting, and the source of diet used by men and women; comparison of the nutrient intake and health status of dieters and nondieters.


Prevalence of dieting varied by gender and race, being highest in white women (21%) and lowest in Hispanic men (8%). About 71% of all dieters reported that they were dieting to improve health, and 50% reported that they were dieting to lose weight. Dieters reported lower intakes of total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, calcium, and selenium compared with nondieters. The rate of chronic health conditions was higher among dieters than nondieters. Self-reported physical activity was similar in both groups.


The prevalence of dieting varies according to sociodemographic characteristics. The reason for dieting and the type of diet used by dieters also vary and need to be studied further. Our results suggest that the dieters generally consumed a more nutrient-dense diet than the nondieters but still low in certain nutrients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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