Social science researchers are intrigued by the fact that dieting or monitoring food consumption with the goal of controlling weight is done mostly by women. This article identifies the social, cultural, and economic reasons that made dieting popular in the life of the modern Western woman; the health problems women face as they diet to control their weight; and recent trends in dieting, especially the growth of dieting institutions in other parts of the world.

History of Diet and Weight Control in Women

Even before dieting became a popular social practice among Western women in the mid-20th century, the term diet was used to describe the regulation of an activity or behavior. Diet comes from the Greek word diata, which means “a regulated mode of ...

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