More Americans Are on Special Diets These Days

CDC says half of adults are trying to manage a condition such as diabetes or heart disease
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 3, 2020 1:47 PM CST
More Americans Are on Special Diets These Days
Stock photo.   (Getty/busracavus)

If it seems like more people are on diets these days, you might not be imagining it. A higher percentage of Americans said they're on a special diet to lose weight or for other health reasons compared with a decade ago, according to a report Tuesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC report found that 17% of Americans said they were on diets during the 2017-18 survey period, the AP reports, up from 14% a decade earlier. Over the same period, obesity rates rose from 34% to 42% of Americans. The report notes that about half of American adults have diet-related chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease and that special diets are a way many people try to manage them. One expert noted that many people might not consider the way they eat to be a diet. The report also looked at responses between 2015 and 2018 and found:

  • The heavier and more educated people were, the more likely they were to report being on a special diet. The report says 23% of Americans who are obese said they were on diets, compared with 17% of overweight people and 8% of people who were normal weight or underweight.
  • More women reported being on a diet than men.
  • 18% of non-Hispanic white Americans, 16% of Hispanic Americans and 15% of Asian and Black Americans said they were on diets.
  • A higher percentage of people 40 and older said they were on diets than those 20 to 39.
  • Between 2007-2008 and 2017-2018, diets described as "weight loss or low calorie" grew in popularity and remained the top category of special diet. Low-carbohydrate diets gained in popularity, while low-fat and low-cholesterol saw a decline.
(Read more dieting stories.)

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