Success and failure of dieting: Key to successful diet


Success and failure of dieting: Key to successful diet


  • Concerns about the ineffectiveness and potentially damaging effects of many diet programmes has lead to the development of programmes aimed at replacing dieting with conventional healthy eating. These programmes emphasise regulation by body hunger and satiety signals and the prevention of inappropriate attitude to food. Higgins and Gray (1999) conducted a meta analysis and found that participation in these programmes was associated with improvements in eating behaviour and psychological wellbeing and with weight stability.


  • Many studies of dieting success or failure rely on the personal accounts of individuals, I.e. Anecdotal evidence. Such evidence is often used to justify claims concerning particular dieting strategies. However, anecdotal evidence has a number of problems that properly controlled scientific studies do not have. The main limitation is that memory is not 100% accurate, nor is assessment of the success and failure of dieting entirely objective. This creates problems for the reliability of the evidence provided by personal accounts and anecdotes.


Research in this area is generally culturally biased because some culture groups found it harder to diet successfully because of a natural inclination to obesity. For example, Asian adults are more prone to obesity than Europeans (Park et al 2001). Likewise, there is evidence that Asian children and adolescents have a greater central fat mass when compared with Europeans and other ethnic groups (Misra et al 2007). 


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