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British women are 'world's worst dieters'

More than a third of British women may find it a struggle to squeeze into their little black dress this party season, as research today revealed that British women were among the worst at dieting in the world.

Comedienne Jenny Eclair, who has entered the ‘I’m a Celebrity’ jungle in a bid to drop a dress size for Christmas is clearly in good company, as more than one in three UK women dieted last year, but just 14 per cent say they weigh less than last year.

This is the worst figure from seven countries surveyed around the world, including the United States, famously the world’s heaviest nation.

A staggering 34 per cent of British women say they have even gained weight since last year, compared to, for example, 19 per cent of German women.

The findings come from the ‘Question of Taste’ survey carried out by SPA Future Thinking, which spanned the globe with 1534 respondents from the UK, US, France, Germany, China and Brazil.

Half of British women surveyed also said they exercised for just under three hours per week – just 25 minutes per day, or a short walk to the shops or school and back. The minimum advised by the government is 30 minutes per day.

French and American women exercised the least, with almost a quarter of women saying they do less than half an hour per week.

British women also had the second highest rate of reliance on convenience food in the survey – at 13 per cent. In the US, this figure was 20 per cent, but every other country surveyed was in single figures – with France and Germany at 6 per cent.

As well as this, 37 per cent of British women said that they ate their main evening dinner in front of the TV, albeit with their families – higher than the US, at just 29 per cent – and the highest proportion in the survey.

Women in the US also had the lowest rate of dieting of everyone surveyed, with just a quarter having dieted in the past 12 months. German women were the best at keeping their weight steady, with two thirds claiming to weigh the same.

Health and food writer and consultant Sarah Lockett, commented: “It’s ironic that Brits consider themselves to be trying the hardest to get rid of excess weight, but are least successful at it.

“As the comparison with women in other countries shows, there is no secret to successful weight management – a healthy attitude to food is the answer, plus addressing the emotional reasons why many of us overeat. Cooking from scratch and eating together as a family really do make a significant difference to more than just mealtimes – these factors can have a huge impact on health and weight.”



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About SPA Future Thinking

SPA Future Thinking is an international market research consultancy. The business works for clients including the Body Shop, IPC, the BBC, Sky and McDonalds, carrying out research all over the world.

The agency has a £13m+ turnover and an international network of offices in London, Paris, New York and Oxford.