About half of all Americans made New Year's resolutions, and by now about 40 percent of them have given up, according to a study by the Addictive Behaviors Research Center at the University of Washington. Research shows that physical health resolutions are the most difficult to keep: 64 percent of those who make them break them. So it's no wonder that even though one-quarter of all Americans dieted last year,1 they're still getting fatter. More than one-third are classified as obese, up from one-quarter in 1980.2 Ironically, 10 million Americans said they sometimes or often did not have enough to eat during the last year.
PAVLOV'S DOGS * 54 percent of all Americans clean their plates even when they're full
* 39 percent eat when they see food
* 20 percent eat when depressed
* 19 percent keep eating until stuffed
Source: Prevention poll, Spring 1998
WHAT WE'RE DOING (OR NOT) ABOUT IT People making $55,000 a year or more are 13 percent more likely to diet than those making $25,000 or less.[superscript]1
* 13 percent of high-school dropouts enrolled in a weight loss plan.
* 23 percent of college grads did.
* Three-quarters of overweight and obese adults are not currently on a diet.7
* The lowest percentage of inactive people (22.6 percent) are found in large metropolitan areas in the West, such as Los Angeles.
* The highest percentage (43.7 percent) are found in rural areas in the South, such as Lula, Georgia.8
COUCH POTATO WARNING Overweight respondents in metropolitan areas are likely to watch more television than normal weight people, and the average time increases as income level decreases:
MILE-HIGH CALORIES * City with the highest percentage of obese people: New Orleans (38)
* City with the lowest percentage: Denver (22)
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1990 and 1993 Health Survey
WEIGHTY FACTS * Obesity accounts for 6 percent of the nation's health care costs, or nearly $100 billion in direct and indirect costs. Major contributors include:
* $22.2 billion for coronary heart disease
* $11.8 billion for adult-onset diabetes
* $2.4 billion for gallbladder disease
* $1.5 billion for hypertension
* $1.8 billion for breast cancer
Source: "Current Estimates of the Economic Costs of Obesity" Obesity Research, March 1998
JUST GIVE ME A PILL * Sales of complete nutritional diet aids, such as Slim Fast, for the year ending September 26, 1998, totalled more than $530 million.
* Supermarket sales, winter 1998 (post-Christmas gorging season), totalled $53.9 million.
* Supermarket sales, during the same period in 1997, totalled $38.3 million.