Women Dieting More, But Need That Seasonal Break

Health and diet marketers take note: Experian Simmons DataStream reports the percentage of American women age 25 to 54 dieting during a typical week rose to 44.8% during the 52-week period ending July 19, 2010, up from the 42.6% observed during the 52-week period ending July 20, 2009. That means that in a single year, dieting rates among American women increased fully 5 percent. No surprise, dieting is most common when the mercury rises. Dieting among American women age 25 to 54 peaked this year during the week of May 24th, 2010 when a reported 48.5% of women said they were currently dieting. In previous years, dieting peaked on August 17, 2009 and on July 15, 2008 when 47.5% and 44.2%, respectively, of women were dieting.

Junk food marketers take note: American women need a break from their diets and that break starts now! In fact, the spike in dieting during swimsuit season is equaled only by the plunge each autumn when the percentage of American women dieting drops to the lowest levels of the year. Amazingly, during the previous two years, the lowest levels of dieting among women occurred during exactly the same week. On November 9, 2009, dieting among women age 25 to 54 dropped to a low of 40.7% and on November 10, 2008, we recorded a low 38.7%.

If seasonal trends hold steady—and we have no reason to suspect they won’t—American women are already starting to swap out their celery sticks for more sinful treats. If anything, women are abandoning their diets earlier this year than they did in the past two. As of July 19, 2010—the same week during the previous two years when dieting rates among women peaked—42.6% of women ages 25 to 54 said they were dieting. The interesting thing is that this marked the eight consecutive decline week-to-week, suggesting that even though dieting was more popular than ever this year, there may be a limit to American womens’ ability to stick with the program.