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J Nutr Educ Behav. 2008 Nov-Dec;40(6):378-84. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2007.09.009.

Need states based on eating occasions experienced by midlife women.

Author information

  • 1Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota 55108, USA. vuex0067@umn.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To identify a comprehensive set of distinct "need states" based on the eating occasions experienced by midlife women.

DESIGN:

Series of 7 focus group interviews.

SETTING:

Meeting room on a university campus.

PARTICIPANTS:

A convenience sample of 34 multi-ethnic women (mean age = 46 years).

PHENOMENON OF INTEREST:

Descriptions of eating occasions by "need states," specific patterns of needs for the occasion.

ANALYSIS:

Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed for common themes using qualitative data analysis procedures.

FINDINGS:

Eight need states suggested a hypothetical framework reflecting a wide range in emotional gratification. Need states with a low level of emotional gratification were dominated by sets of functional needs, such as coping with stress, balancing intake across occasions, meeting external demands of time and effort, and maintaining a routine. Food was a means for reinforcing family identity, social expression, and celebration in need states with high levels of emotional gratification. Occurrence of need states varied by day and meal/snack occasion, with food type and amount dependent on need state.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS:

Eating occasions are driven by specific sets of needs ranging from physical/functional to more emotional/social needs. Addressing need states may improve weight intervention programs for midlife women.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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