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J Aging Health. 2001 May;13(2):189-99.

The effect of widowhood on weight change, dietary intake, and eating behavior in the elderly population.

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Ben-Gurion University, Israel.



To assess the effect of recent widowhood on weight, dietary intake, and habits.


Participants included 58 recently widowed elderly subjects and 58 married subjects who were matched on age, sex, and race. Weight change from baseline and following widowhood, dietary intake, eating behavior, depression, and cognitive and physical functioning were assessed in a clinic interview.


Mean weight loss and the prevalence of weight loss were significantly higher among widowed participants. They ate more meals alone, more commercial meals per week, and fewer snacks and homemade meals. They also enjoyed their eating less. A significant difference between cases and controls was evident after adjusting for all the variables. Higher cognitive functioning score, younger age, and better appetite were protective against weight loss.


Widowed people were found to be at increased risk for weight loss. This may well be due to decreased appetite and enjoyment of their meals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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