National, cross-sectional data collected over the past 40 years indicate an increase in the average weight of midlife women (40-60 years). Recent trends for more frequent snacking and stress-related eating may increase risk for weight gain, which is associated with risk of chronic diseases. The purpose of this study was to better understand indulgent snacking occasions among midlife women (n=414) and to evaluate if these occasions, including the attitudes and contextual environment surrounding them, differed by weight status (normal, overweight, or obese). Data collected as a part of a larger study included one-day food records and surveys to assess attitudes and contextual environment. This thesis project tested the hypothesis that both macro- and micro-nutrient intake and food group intakes would vary by weight status with normal weight women displaying healthier consumption characteristics compared to overweight and obese women; however, the observed patterns did not fit these expectations. Significant differences were observed between weight status groups for energy intake and several macro- and micro-nutrient intakes, but these differences did not correspond with differences in food group intakes. Normal weight women tried fewer weight maintenance strategies and had higher weight self-efficacy scores than overweight and obese women. Normal weight women were also more likely to have positive attitudes toward food in general, whereas obese women were more likely to have less healthy attitudes, using food as an escape from emotion or as a coping mechanism for boredom. In addition to food intake, the findings suggest that attitudes and motivations surrounding food may also be important with regard to achieving a healthy weight. Health care professionals should consider snacking habits, as well as motivations and attitudes related to food, when advising midlife women on weight status issues.
University of Minnesota thesis. December 2014. Major: Nutrition. Advisor: Marla Reicks. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 138 pages, appendices A-D.
Mishler, Elizabeth Kathleen.
Dietary intake, attitudinal, and contextual differences by weight status in indulgent snacking occasions of midlife women.
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