America’s weight obsession

New study suggests dieting is not only harmful but doesn’t work.

As a society consumed with perceptions of appearance, our nation’s obsession with dieting is understandable. America’s fixation with weight is leading many to turn to drastic measures to keep off the pounds. However, the latest in a string of medical studies on weight loss once again seems to prove that dieting is actually among one of the worst things a person can do to their body.

A new review of 31 previous studies by the University of California concludes that dieting is unlikely to result in long-term weight loss as up to two-thirds of dieters put more weight on than they had lost within five years. Furthermore, the study suggests that rigorous dieting might put a person’s health at risk. The American Psychologists journal reports that losing and gaining weight is linked to heart disease and stroke. Given the tendency of Americans to partake in yo-yo dieting, this is very alarming.

This newest study just reaffirms what many physicians and scientists have been saying for quite some time: Dieting does not lead to sustained weight loss. Even though studies discounting the effectiveness of dieting surface every year, society’s message to hate our bodies and pursue extreme thinness lead us to ignore the facts. When people are constantly being told by society’s perception of beauty that something is fundamentally wrong with their bodies, they get caught up in the quickest short-term solution, regardless of its hazardous long-term effects.

The key to long-term weight loss is a balanced lifestyle, one that includes eating in moderation and regular exercise. Instead of indulging in the latest fad diet, we should focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Approximately 70 million adults partake in dieting to meet their weight-loss goals, and another 45 million are dieting to maintain their current weight. Ironically, Americans actually weigh on average 15 pounds more than they did 20 years ago. Despite the $50 million weight loss industry, we still do not have healthy diet pills that actually work. Perhaps it is time as a nation to jump off the dieting bandwagon and re-evaluate the facets of our society that lead to unhealthy weight gain.