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Poll: Never say 'diet' - even after holiday indulgence

Poll: Never say 'diet' - even after holiday indulgence
CNN
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Monday, December 30, 2013 - 9:25am

Feeling a little extra jolly this holiday season? You're in copious -- and well-fed -- company.

A CNN/ORC International Poll released Friday reveals that the majority of adult Americans opt not to ho-ho-hold back from holiday foods to stave off weight gain, and instead just enjoy the season's treats.

According to the survey, 53% of respondents say they'll indulge and eat what they want because it is a special time of year. That's a gain of 6 percentage points over the 2006 poll, and an exact match to the mindset of respondents in 1996.

The 18-34 bracket is the demographic group most likely to throw caution to the breeze at the holiday buffet table, with 64% opting for indulgence. Those age 65 and over are least likely to allow themselves tasty temptations, with only 40% saying they'll give into the gluttony of the season.

Men are also more likely to just dive face-first into the fridge, with 57% saying indulgence is on the menu, as opposed to 49% of female respondents.

That's not to say that all eaters are just cramming down sugar cookies by the fistful and slurping gravy straight from the ladle (though that does sound like a pretty excellent party): 35% of all respondents say they'll limit what they eat, down from 36% in 2006.

The survey also broke down data into political affiliations and geographic locations. Republicans and Midwesterners are the groups most actively attempting to refrain from excess eating (41%), while Democrats and rural dwellers were the least likely (31%) to set such limits upon their festivity.

And despite the inevitable glut of weight loss ads in January, Americans aren't especially swallowing the (low-fat, sugar-free) bait. Only 23% of all respondents claimed to be "very likely" to embark upon a major dietary overhaul after the holiday, and 38% dismissed the possibility completely.

Least likely to embark on a plan of nutrition action are rural dwellers (45%), those over 65 years old and people who haven't attended college (43% for both groups). The carrot stick and kale smoothie brigade will be led by denizens of urban areas (30%), people age 35-49 (27%) as well as Democrats and Southerners (26%).

A total of 1,035 adults were interviewed by telephone nationwide December 16-19 by live interviewers calling both land lines and cell phones. All respondents were asked questions concerning basic demographics, and the entire sample was weighted to reflect national Census Bureau figures for gender, race, age, education, region of country, and telephone usage. Among the entire sample, 33% described themselves as Democrats, 24% described themselves as Republicans, and 43% described themselves as independents or members of another party.

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See more in New Year's booze and food news

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