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Dieting

  • By: Mimi Nichter & Nicole Taylor
  • In: Encyclopedia of Consumer Culture
  • Edited by: Dale Southerton
  • Subject:Sociology of Consumption, Consumer Psychology, Consumer Culture

Dieting refers to social practices with the goal of losing weight, such as decreasing food intake, increasing exercise, “watching” what one eats, and sharing food as well as discourse practices that socialize individuals into gender-appropriate body images and weight-loss norms.

The practice of dieting is commonplace in Western countries and is increasingly becoming a global issue. In the United States, a 2006 study by Edward Weiss and colleagues found that 34 percent of men and 48 percent of women had tried to lose weight during the previous year. The most common weight-loss practices reported were food restrictions, followed by exercising, eating less fat, and switching to lower-calorie foods. Marita McCabe and Lina Ricciardelli report that dieting is far more prevalent among women than among men ...

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