Americans are ditching the diet, and local doctors know why

Changing attitudes towards what is a socially acceptable weight have convinced a growing number of obese Americans to ditch the diet.

A new study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that just about half... 49 percent... of overweight Americans are trying to lose weight.  That's a dip from 1990, when 56 percent were on a diet.

While that's not a huge drop in percentage, there are so many obese and overweight Americans that only one percent means millions of people.

Dr. Richard Peterson from UT Health San Antonio, who is an expert on bariatric surgery, says packing on some extra pounds is not as taboo as it was just a few decades ago.

"There is, I would say in our society, an acceptable threshold for weight that has risen over time.  No question about that," he tells Newsradio 1200 WOAI.

Plus-size model Ashley Graham's appearance in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition may be the most visible example of the shift in perception.  Actress and comedian Amy Schumer also spoke about weight in her latest special on Netflix.

"I am what Hollywood calls 'very fat,'" she said. "You know me. I feel very good in my own skin. I feel strong. I feel healthy. I do. I feel sexy."

Dr. Gayle Timmerman, Associate Professor at The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing, says there could be a silver lining to the study.  She tells Newsradio 1200 WOAI, doctors take a dim view of most diets.

"Diet is a four-letter word.  You start and go off of them.  It's deprivation. It all has negative connotations."

She's hopeful that some of those overweight Americans who said they were no longer trying to lose weight are, instead, focusing on healthy behaviors like eating well, exercising and focusing on their sleep.

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