Journal article Open Access
Healthy appearance is often mistakenly associated with a slim figure and being on a diet is wrongly seen as an indication of taking care of health and the quality of the food consumed. Literature shows that it may not always be the case, due to the anxiety caused by restrictions in the area of eating. Dieting can have multiple negative consequences, anxiety and depression being only two of them. Restricting food intake can also result in eating disorders and health issues as restricting calories in one’s diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies.This paper studies the relationships between dieting and anxiety, dieting and health, dieting and health behaviors, and between health behaviors and health. Research tools include the self-reported measure of health, the General Self Rated Health questionnaire, an anxiety measure, A Brief Measure for Assessing Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and a measure of health behaviors, the Health Behavior Inventory. The study was conducted using a sample of Polish students of physical education and their families.Results suggest that dieting is indeed connected with higher levels of anxiety. Despite heightened engagement, those who followed a diet did not appear to be healthier than those who did not. At the same time, the reported level of health showed significant correlations with particular health behaviors, such as correct eating habits and positive attitudes toward food.