What Size is the "Average" Woman?
The average American woman is 5'4", weighs 140 lbs, and wears a size 14 dress.
The "ideal" woman--portrayed by models, Miss America, Barbie dolls, and screen actresses--is 5'7", weighs 100 lbs, and wears a size 8.
One-third of all American women wear a size 16 or larger.
75% of American women are dissatisfied with their appearance.
50% of American women are on a diet at any one time.
Between 90% and 99% of reducing diets fail to produce permanent weight loss.
Two-thirds of dieters regain the weight within one year. Virtually all regain it within five years.
The diet industry (diet foods, diet programs, diet drugs, etc.) takes in over $40 billion each year, and is still growing.
Quick-weight-loss schemes are among the most common consumer frauds, and diet programs have the highest customer dissatisfaction of any service industry.
A recent survey found only 30 percent of 250 randomly chosen women age 21 to 35 had normal bone mass--the researchers concluded women are so afraid eating dairy products will make them gain weight that they are starving themselves into osteoporosis.
Young girls are more afraid of becoming fat than they are of nuclear war, cancer, or losing their parents.
50% of 9-year-old girls and 80% of 10-year-old girls have dieted.
90% of high school junior and senior women diet regularly, even though only between 10% and 15% are over the weight recommended by the standard height-weight charts.
1% of teenage girls, and 5% of college-age women become anorexic or bulimic.
Anorexia has the highest mortality rate (up to 20%) of any psychiatric diagnosis.
Girls develop eating and self-image problems before drug or alcohol problems; there are drug and alcohol programs in almost every school, but no eating disorder programs.
Body Acceptance Tied to Healthy Eating
Aug 31 (Reuters Health) - Women who accept their bodies, flaws and all, are more likely to eat healthily or intuitively, new research shows. This suggests that women's typical reasons for dieting -- dissatisfaction with their bodies -- may backfire.
"There is a lot of negative body talk among women; women think that they can best lose weight and feel better if they are first dissatisfied with their bodies," Dr. Tracy Tylka told Reuters Health. "Rather, this research shows that adopting a positive body image is more likely to be associated with intuitive eating."
Intuitive eaters don't diet -- they recognize and respond to internal hunger and fullness cues to regulate what and how much they eat, Tylka explained. Intuitive eating has three components: "unconditional permission to eat when hungry and whatever food is desired; eating for physical rather than emotional reasons; and reliance on internal hunger/fullness cues."
Tylka, an assistant professor of psychology at Ohio State University's Marion campus has conducted several studies on the concept of intuitive eating. In one study published in April involving 199 college-aged women, Tylka found that women who followed intuitive eating principles had a slightly lower body weight than women who did not.
"Intuitive eating was negatively associated with body mass, such that people who ate intuitively weighed less than people who dieted," she said.
In her latest studies presented this month at the American Psychological Association meeting, Tylka and her colleagues examined who was most likely to follow intuitive eating principles.
They found, among nearly 600 college women, that those with higher levels of appreciation and acceptance for their body were more likely to be intuitive eaters.
Intuitive eaters spend less time thinking about how their body appears to others and more time considering how their body feels and functions, Tylka observed. They "perceive the body as an agent of action rather than an object of attraction...focusing on how the body functions rather than its appearance," Tylka told Reuters Health.
Intuitive eating, Tylka's found, is "positively associated with psychological well-being, such as self-esteem, positive emotions, adaptive coping, self-acceptance, optimism, and resilience in the face of stress."
Intuitive eaters also reported receiving more positive messages from parents and others regarding their bodies.
Publish Date: August 31, 2006
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