Weight-loss strategies used by the general population: how are they perceived ?

PLoS One. 2014 9(5):e97834

Julia C, Péneau S, Andreeva VA, Méjean C, Fezeu L, Galan P, Hercberg S.

BACKGROUND:
The rising prevalence of obesity and the social pressure for thinness increase the prevalence of dieting. However, little is known about the overall perception of dieting strategies actually used by the general population.
OBJECTIVES:
Our main objective was to investigate perceptions of weight-loss practices in an observational study in order to identify the most favourable strategy.
DESIGN:
Adults from the ongoing Nutrinet-Santé cohort study who had reported engaging in dieting in the three previous years were included in the study. For each diet, detailed information was collected on types of diets, circumstances and perception of the diet, and outcomes. Perceptions were compared across diets using sex-specific mixed effects models.
RESULT:
Among the 48 435 subjects who had completed the respective questionnaire, 12 673 (26.7%, 87.8% of women) had followed at least one weight-loss diet in the previous three years. Diet plans prescribed by health professionals and diets conforming to official dietary recommendations were the most favourably perceived among all assessed weight-loss strategies. Alternatively, commercial diet plans and self-imposed dietary restrictions were more negatively perceived (Odds ratios (OR) for adherence difficulty 1.30 (95% confidence interval (0.99;1.7)) in men and OR 1.92 (1.76;2.10) in women compared to official nutritional guidelines; OR 1.06 (0.82;1.38) in men and OR 1.39 (1.26;1.54) in women respectively) compared to official nutritional guidelines.
CONCLUSION:
Official dietary recommendations could be useful tools for maintaining a dietary balance while following a weight-loss diet.