New Year's revelers putting off health resolutions until March

Shortly after the last notes of "Auld Lang Syne" fade away and the New Year commences, it's commonly thought that revelers immediately jump on the resolution bandwagon, foregoing sweets and treats and sloth for healthy eats and a new exercise regime. But a new NPD Group study on the eating and dieting patterns of Americans says that's not necessarily the case.
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Shortly after the last notes of "Auld Lang Syne" fade away and the New Year commences, it's commonly thought that revelers immediately jump on the resolution bandwagon, foregoing sweets and treats and sloth for healthy eats and a new exercise regime. But a new NPD Group study on the eating and dieting patterns of Americans says that's not necessarily the case. The annual "Eating Patterns in America" and "Dieting Monitor" studies found that typically less than one in four adults (23 percent) start their New Year's resolution diet and exercise plan in January versus slightly more (26 percent) in March.

Why the push to March?

"The difference between January and March is proximity to June, when the clothes start coming off for the summer months," said Harry Balzer, vice president of NPD, in a release of the data. "People start thinking in January that exercise will melt away the pounds but realize by March that it's much easier to change their food intake than exercise the weight away."

The study, a leading indicator of consumer eating/dieting patterns used by food marketers and restaurant operators in the United States, also found that while 62 percent of Americans are overweight, some 60 percent agreed with the statement, "I would like to lose 20 pounds," and seem to be more tolerant of their battle with the bulge.

Also, NPD found in 1985 that 55 percent of adults agreed that "A person who is not overweight is a lot more attractive," but this year's survey found the number has dropped to 24 percent of folks who agree with that statement.

SNEWS® View: What might that mean for anyone selling exercise and fitness? First, better jump on the promotion to exercise and get the message to your public asap to catch 'em while the thought is hot. Second, EDUCATE the consumer that the best way to lose weight, lose fat and gain better tone is a combination of exercise and healthy eating. Third, perhaps come March -- normally considered the end of "the busy season" -- it may be time to do promotions that also focus on education that reaching goals faster and better entails BOTH good eating patterns and moderate and regular exercise.

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