Prevalence of overweight and weight loss behavior in a metropolitan adult population: the Minnesota Heart Survey experience

 The article contains data from two surveys that were conducted in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, one of the surveys was conducted in 1973-74 the other from 1980-81.  The information obtained also related to the weight history and dieting behaviors.  There was an increase in dieting reported by all women surveyed, but only the men age’s 40-59 years of age.  The men though showed a 37.5% success rate, while the women only reported a 30.1% success rate.  In the survey conducted in 1980-81 an extremely large percent of the participants, either overweight or those who had never been over weight, reported that they diet to control their weight.
     The participants were asked about the type of diets they used for weight control.  An overwhelming 65% of men and 58% of women use a general low calorie diet, where they just cut the number of calories they intake by a minimal proportion.  On the more drastic side of the diets used 22% of men and 23% of women cut carbohydrates and drastically decrease their caloric intake to dangerously low amounts, or fast for periods of time.    This type of diet has been found nutritionally unsafe because of the lack of nutrients the participants receive.  Women were found much more likely to use a formal weight loss method, such as Weight Watchers.
     According to the data from the two surveys, if success is measured by having once been overweight, but not currently being over weight, then one third of all dieters are successful. Though the data collected from these two surveys show the weight loss practices of individuals who participate in self-initiated weight loss programs are more successful than the clinical studies found, the overweight health problem still remains.



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