Healthy appearance is often mistakenly associated with a slim figure and being on a diet is wrongly seen as an indication of taking care of health and the quality of the food consumed. Literature shows that it may not always be the case, due to the anxiety caused by restrictions in the area of eating. Dieting can have multiple negative consequences, anxiety and depression being only two of them. Restricting food intake can also result in eating disorders and health issues as restricting calories in one’s diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies. This paper studies the relationships between dieting and anxiety, dieting and health, dieting and health behaviors, and between health behaviors and health. Research tools include the self-reported measure of health, the General Self Rated Health questionnaire, an anxiety measure, A Brief Measure for Assessing Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and a measure of health behaviors, the Health Behavior Inventory. The study was conducted using a sample of Polish students of physical education and their families. Results suggest that dieting is indeed connected with higher levels of anxiety. Despite heightened engagement, those who followed a diet did not appear to be healthier than those who did not. At the same time, the reported level of health showed significant correlations with particular health behaviors, such as correct eating habits and positive attitudes toward food.
Wright J., O’Flynn G., Macdonald D. Being fit and looking healthy: Young women’s and men’s constructions of health and fitness. Sex Roles 2006; 54(9-10): 707–716.
Mann S., Harmer H. Can health and wellbeing come in all shapes and sizes? Dieting: The Big Con. a harm minimisation program. Australian Journal of Primary Health 2002; 8(2): 39–47.
French S. A., Jeffery R. W. Consequences of dieting to lose weight: effects on physical and mental health. Health Psychology 1994; 13(3): 195–212.
Lissner L., Andres R., Muller D. C., Shimokata H. Body weight variability in men: metabolic rate, health and longevity. International Journal of Obesity 1990; 14(4): 373–383.
Lissner L., Odell P. M., D'Agostino R. B., Stokes III J., Kreger B. E., Belanger A. J., Brownell K. D. Variability of body weight and health outcomes in the Framingham population. New England Journal of Medicine 1991; 324(26): 1839–1844.
Wilson G. T. Relation of dieting and voluntary weight loss to psychological functioning and binge eating. Annals of Internal Medicine 1993; 119: 727–730.
Rand C. S., Kuldau J. M. Restrained eating (weight concerns) in the general population and among students. International Journal of Eating Disorders 1991; 10(6): 699–708.
Kenardy J., Brown W. J., Vogt E. Dieting and health in young Australian women. European Eating Disorders Review: The Professional Journal of the Eating Disorders Association 2001; 9(4): 242–254.
French S. A., Story M., Downes B., Resnick M. D., Blum R. W. Frequent dieting among adolescents: psychosocial and health behavior correlates. American Journal of Public Health 1995; 85(5): 695–701.
Strine T. W., Chapman D. P., Kobau R., Balluz L. Associations of self-reported anxiety symptoms with health-related quality of life and health behaviors. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 2005; 40(6): 432–438.
Aucoin M., Bhardwaj S. Generalized anxiety disorder and hypoglycemia symptoms improved with diet modification. Case Reports in Psychiatry 2016; 7165425.
Fairburn, C. G., Brownell, K. D. (eds.). Eating disorders and obesity: A comprehensive handbook. New York: Guilford Press, 2005.
Jeffery R. W., Adlis S. A., Forster J. L. Prevalence of dieting among working men and women: The healthy worker project. Health Psychology 1991; 10(4): 274–281.
DeSalvo K. B., Jones T. M., Peabody J., McDonald J., Fihn S., Fan V., He J., Muntner P. Health care expenditure prediction with a single item, self-rated health measure. Medical Care 2009; 47(4): 440–447.
DeSalvo K. B., Fisher W. P., Tran K., Bloser N., Merrill W., Peabody, J. Assessing measurement properties of two single-item general health measures. Quality of Life Research 2006; 15(2): 191–201.
Spitzer R. L., Kroenke K., Williams J. B., Löwe B. A brief measure for assessing generalized anxiety disorder: the GAD-7. Archives of Internal Medicine 2006; 166(10): 1092–1097.
Juczyński Z. Narzędzia pomiaru w promocji i psychologii zdrowia. Warszawa: Pracownia Testów Psychologicznych Polskiego Towarzystwa Psychologicznego, 2001.
Pidgeon A., Harker R. A. Body-focused anxiety in women: Associations with internalization of the thin-ideal, dieting frequency, body mass index and media effects. Open Journal of Medical Psychology 2013; 2(4): 17–24.
Diamantopoulos A., Sarstedt M., Fuchs C., Wilczynski P., Kaiser S. Guidelines for choosing between multi-item and single-item scales for construct measurement: a predictive validity perspective. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 2012; 40(3): 434–449.
Alix Timko C., Perone J., Crossfield A. Are you currently on a diet? What respondents mean when they say “yes”. Eating Disorders 2006; 14(2): 157–166.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Copyright (c) 2020 Array