Research Article| Volume 32, ISSUE 6, P320-328, November 2000

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Dietary Trajectories in the Menopause Transition Among Québec Women

  • Marie-Claude Paquette
    Address for correspondence: Marie-Claude Paquette, Ph.D., R.D., Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Sciences, 410 Agriculture Forestry Centre, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB Canada, T6G 2P5; Tel: +(780) 492-3989.
    Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2P5
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  • Carol M. Devine
    Division of Nutritional Sciences, MVR, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853–4401
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      This qualitative study explored perimenopausal women's perceptions and experiences of continuity and change in dietary behavior. This study used a naturalistic paradigm and three in-depth qualitative interviews over a 13-month period. A purposive sample of 23 perimenopausal women was recruited from community health centers and social organizations in rural and urban areas of Québec.The semistructured interview guide focused on dietary and lifestyle changes, health and body changes, social roles, and the menopause experience. Grounded theory analysis was performed on the transcribed interviews. Women's narratives described three types of dietary trajectories: unsuccessful dieting, small change, and progressive change. Women with similar trajectories shared experiences with food, dieting practices, self-efficacy, and transition in the maternal role. Although most women reported continuing on the same dietary trajectory for most of their adult lives, a few described changes in their diets. Some women associated their small changes in diet with being informed of the potential development of chronic diseases, whereas others radically changed their diets following life events such as the development of an illness. Menopause per se was not perceived by women as a time for dietary change. Health and nutrition professionals could improve the impact of their efforts by recognizing the contribution of past dietary behavior to current dietary practices. Dietary advice would also benefit from being tailored to women's existing dietary trajectories.
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