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So you ate your way through winter and the thought of donning a bathing suit seems scarier than a Wes Craven film. You're not alone. According to the 16th annual report “Eating Patterns in America� by Port Washington, N.Y.-based market research firm The NPD Group, March — not January — is the month during which the greatest share of Americans (30 percent) are on a diet. An estimated 26 percent of all adults (30 percent of women and 22 percent of men) were on a diet year-round in 2001. Some 63 percent of Americans wanted to shed 20 pounds, up from 54 percent in 1995 and 52 percent in 1990. What's with the sudden desire to drop the fat? Harry Balzer, vice president at NPD, suggests that Americans' attempts to eat healthier foods during the ‘80s and ‘90s without the addition of exercise have finally caught up with them. Bellies beware: It's payback time.


Percentage of men and women, by age, who are currently on a diet.

18-34 7% 20%
35-44 14% 25%
45-54 26% 29%
55-64 28% 42%
65+ 43% 38%
Source: The NPD Group, 2001
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