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Weight and Dieting Survey in Middle-Age and Ageing Women
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Weight & Dieting Survey in Middle-Age and Ageing Women

The desired weights and dieting behavior of a sample of 1,053 women aged 30-74 years in the general population of Geneva, Switzerland, were explored by means of a questionnaire. Multivariate analyses of variance were performed.

Twenty-five percent of the women were satisfied with their weight, whereas 71 percent wanted to be thinner, although 73 percent of them were at normal weight. Among women older than 65 years, 62 percent wanted to lose weight, 65 percent of them being at normal weight. For women wanting to lose weight, mean desired weight loss amounted to 9 percent of their current weight. Weight dissatisfaction increased with higher education, and with increasing current weight. Within the last 5 years, 42 percent of the women had dieted for weight control, including 67 percent at normal weight. Thirty-one percent of the women older than 65 years had also dieted, 62 percent of them being at normal weight.

A majority of middle-age and ageing women in this general population sample expressed dissatisfaction about their weight. Many attempted dieting, even when they were at normal weight. Considering the vulnerability of the elderly to nutritional deficiencies, dieting to lose weight in normal weight ageing women should be discouraged or closely monitored.

Source: Allaz AF, Bernstein M, Rouget P, Archinard M, Morabia A. Division of Psychosomatic and Psychosocial Medicine, University Hospital, Geneva, Switzerland.

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