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J Am Diet Assoc. 2008 Jan;108(1):125-30.

Predictors of diet quality among overweight and obese postmenopausal women.

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  • 1Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Cancer Prevention Program, Seattle, WA 98109-1024, USA.


Previous studies have shown that sociodemographic characteristics can be determinants of healthful eating. However, health characteristics such as smoking status have not been well studied. The objective of this research, therefore, was to determine predictors of diet quality in postmenopausal women. We included 164 overweight or obese postmenopausal women aged 50 to 75 years living in and around Seattle, WA, and intake, measured by food frequency questionnaire, was used to calculate scores for the Diet Quality Index and Healthy Eating Index. Information on sociodemographic factors and health behaviors was collected by self-administered questionnaire. Body mass index was computed using duplicate measures of height and weight. Percent body fat was measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Following data collection, one-way analysis of variance, chi(2), and Pearson correlations were used to compare means of diet quality scores across participant characteristics. We found that predictors of better diet quality in this study population were higher education and former smoking history (compared to never-smokers); there was no evidence for a relationship with income level. Individuals with higher-quality diets were more likely to have lower body mass index or percent body fat. Based on the results of this study, education level and smoking history are predictors of diet quality among overweight and obese postmenopausal women. These findings add to the increasing evidence for targeting public health interventions to individuals with lower education because this group stands to benefit from improved dietary intake. In addition, these results suggest that the timing of smoking cessation is a possible teachable moment for food and nutrition professionals.

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