Over the last year, Good Housekeeping has been exploring the impact of diet culture with our anti-diet series — a combination of personal stories, expert advice, historical context and cultural insights. Throughout this series, we also explore the many facets of the anti-diet movement, including fighting fatphobia, understanding thin privilege and how the BMI came to be used as a measure of health.
To round out this reporting, we surveyed our readers, as well as the audiences from our sister publications Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Day and Prevention. We asked a variety of questions around body image, weight loss and dieting, some pulled directly from the National Eating Disorders Association’s Eating Disorder Screening Tool, which aims to help people decide whether they want to seek professional help for their thoughts and behaviors around food and body image.
Diet culture’s force and influence can make some people — especially women — feel like they must constantly strive to be different than they are in order to be happy, successful, beautiful and worthy. Sure enough, our survey results indicate that 87% of respondents have been on a diet with the purpose, at least in part, to change their weight or shape. Meanwhile, only 6% of respondents strongly agreed that they feel generally happy with their bodies, and a sobering 17% said they’d be willing to shave a year or more off their lives in exchange for their ideal body.
Excerpted from Good Housekeeping