We examined food preferences, dietary intake, and physical activity in dieters and nondieters using three different methods of dieting classification. One hundred three women and 99 men completed the cognitive restraint subscale of Stunkard and Messick's (1985) Three Factor Eating Questionnaire (TFEQ-R) and Herman and Polivy's (1980) Restraint Scale (RS), and answered questions about their current efforts to lose or maintain weight. Women identifying themselves as currently dieting to lose weight reported expending twice as much energy in physical activity compared to those reporting that they were either currently dieting to maintain weight or not dieting. There were no significant differences in dietary intake or physical activity by current dieting status in men. Women chronic dieters identified by high TFEQ-R scores reported lower total calorie intake and less frequent sweets consumption than women with low TFEQ-R scores. In men, those with high TFEQ-R scores reported consuming a greater percent of calories from protein and carbohydrate, less beef, pork, whole milk, and sweets. In women, the RS did not distinguish dieters from nondieters on any measure. In men, the RS results were similar to those from the TFEQ-R. These results show that current measures of dieting are only weakly related to behaviors thought to be indicative of dieting. Future research must develop more precise measures of dieting in order to examine the relationship between self-reports of dieting and behaviors thought to be related to dieting.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Research supported by grants 5ROl HL 41332,5ROl HL 41330, and 5T32 HL 07328 from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to Robert W. Jeffery and Rena R. Wing.