College Women Favor Nutrition Over Exercise

When shedding pounds, 79.1% of men said they'd never tried a diet, study finds

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TUESDAY, Oct. 17, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Female college students are more likely than males to diet, while males who do try to shed pounds typically turn to exercise rather than dieting, says a University of Nebraska study.

The study identified a number of differences between women and men in terms of dieting and sources of nutrition knowledge and beliefs. Among the findings:

  • Women were much more likely than men to try low-fat diets (19.3 percent vs. 7.6 percent), low-carbohydrate diets (15.5 percent vs. 10 percent), and vegetarian diets (4.4 percent vs. 0 percent).
  • 79.1 percent of men said they'd never tried a diet, compared with 65.6 percent of women.
  • More women than men got most of their nutrition information from family members (58 percent vs. 41.9 percent), and magazines and newspapers (43.1 percent vs. 30.5 percent).
  • Women were more likely than men to say that they eat too much sugar (59.7 percent vs. 41.9 percent), that it's important to limit carbohydrate intake (46.4 percent vs. 27.6 percent), that it's important to limit fats to lose weight (71.7 percent vs. 52.4 percent), and that they need to lose weight (57.4 percent vs. 28.6 percent).
  • The majority of study participants (94.4 percent) agreed that it's important to eat a variety of foods for good health.

The study was published in the October issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

"These findings are in agreement with reports of women's tendency to hold stronger beliefs related to nutrition than men. Though men have some sensitivity to body fat, women are much more sensitive," the study authors wrote.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about weight control.

SOURCE: American Dietetic Association, news release, October 2006

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