Dieting is a principal health topic in the U.S. and rightfully so. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, almost two thirds of American adults (age 20 years and older) qualify as overweight. That’s slightly over 127 million people, sixty million of whom qualify as obese, or seriously overweight. It’s a major problem for our population – and therefore, naturally, a major topic on the Internet.
There are dozens of sites that are more or less informative on the issues of weight loss and dieting and dozens more that pitch one diet program or another, or provide commercial content on several diets. There’s lots of money being devoted to web advertising to steer you to one diet or another, many of which have become names familiar in most households.
Of the informative sources, perhaps the most thorough on the issue of weight is the American Obesity Association (www.aoa.org) which treats the affliction as a disease and has extensive educational material available. Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.org) does an excellent job discussing the basics of dieting. Their material addresses types of diets (as opposed to brands); the relationship of exercise and dieting; how calories are counted and how they work; and some of the dangers inherent in misguided attempts at dieting.
Diets are also the core of a major American industry. Millions are spent annually on specialty diet programs – on books, prepared food programs, and hands-on therapy that involve both diet and exercise. If you’re looking for an analysis of the online resources for dieting, there’s a fairly extensive body of material at http://www.freedieting.com. The title itself illustrates the mercenary nature of most diet web sites; however it’s a place to start if you want to learn about the more popular online diet programs.
Freedieting.com provides recommendations on programs, rankings based on popularity, and lots of content on the ancillary items such as workout plans and calorie counters. It is unclear, however, what criteria their recommendations are based on: it could be advertising, or it could be truly objective analysis. Given the title of the site, it may be a combination of the two.
An openly commercial site that provides comparisons of fourteen online diet programs can be found at http://www.diet-plan-offers.com. While it’s clear that the programs found there paid for positioning, it provides you with an opportunity for some quick comparisons of diet program models.