According to Mintel Consumer Intelligence report The US Diet Aids Report, teenagers
are a significant market segment for the diet aids market, with some 14% of
teen dieters use meal replacements, and 6% use diet pills.

The findings of Mintel’s report show that overall, fewer than one in 10 U.S.
teenagers are on a diet to lose weight. But teenage girls are more than four
times as likely as teenage boys to be dieting. Dieting is most common among
teenagers aged 16 and 17, but almost 5% of America’s 12-year-olds say that they
are on a diet.

It is surprising to find that black teenagers are almost twice as likely as
all teenagers in the U.S. to be dieting to lose weight. Among adult Americans,
blacks are less likely than whites or Hispanics to say they are dieting. Among
teenagers who are dieting, girls are more likely than boys to use meal replacements
and teenage girls who diet are almost four times more likely than dieting teenage
boys to use diet pills.

The majority of Americans are overweight, and the share of Americans who are
obese increased from 12% to 20% during the 1990s. Shockingly, the percentage
of Hispanic Americans who are obese has more than doubled in the past ten years.
African-Americans are much more likely to be obese than are other racial and
ethic groups. Some 29% of blacks were obese in 2000, compared with 23% of Hispanics,
19% of non-Hispanics whites, and 12% of Asians and members of other races.

A complicated web of behaviors and products affect the market for diet pills
and meal replacements, including exercise, television viewing, consumption of
fatty foods, access to healthcare, an expanding range of choices in dieting
products, and media images that equate a slender physique with popularity and
power. The bottom line is an increase in the proportion of Americans who are
dieting or trying to maintain their weight. Manufacturers are serving this market
with a dizzying variety of new products, some of which are marketed with outlandish
product claims.

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Total revenues from the Diet Aids market increased 159% between 1996 and 2001,
with sales growing from $753 million to $1,947 million. The total market for
weight-loss products and services, which includes prescription weight-loss drugs,
diet soft drinks and health clubs, was $34.5 billion in 2000. Diet Aids? share
of this market represents 5.1% of the total.

The report indicates that more than one in five U.S. adult respondents say
they are dieting to lose weight. Yet more than one in four women say they are
dieters, compared with about one in seven men.

Research findings show that about 16% of U.S. dieting adults are taking diet
pills, and that about 12% of dieters use meal replacement products. This suggests
that of the 208 million adults in the U.S. in 2000, about 45 million are dieting
and some 5 million are using meal replacements and 7 million are using diet

Women are twice as likely as men to take diet pills, and younger adults are
much more likely than older adults to take them, according to Mintel’s exclusive
consumer research. Yet women and men are equally likely to use meal replacement

Established in 1972, Mintel incorporates Mintel Consumer Intelligence, Global
New Products Database (gnpd), and Mintel consultancy. Mintel is an independent
company which operates offices in Chicago, London, Frankfurt, and Sydney. For
more information on Mintel Consumer Intelligence, please visit our website at