Psychological constructs, dietary change, and weight loss in older women following a six month intervention
Berg, Alison Clune
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As evidence amasses for the benefits of intentional weight loss in obese older adults, identifying feasible and appropriate intervention strategies for this population is warranted. This dissertation identifies changes in diet and psychological factors that are related to intentional weight loss in overweight and obese older women following intervention. Two studies were conducted and focused on: 1) identifying dietary changes that occur when older women (65 – 80 y) are counseled to consume an energy-restricted higher protein diet for weight loss, and 2) exploring the relationship of eating behaviors (Three Factor Eating Questionnaire, Stunkard and Messick, 1985) and depressive symptoms (Centers for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, Radloff 1977) with intentional weight loss in overweight and obese older women. Overall, the major findings were that older women were able to make changes in their diet to promote weight loss, including significant reductions in energy and changes in macronutrient intakes. Participants who completed the intervention (n = 61) lost -9.2 ± 4.8% of initial body weight and 42.6% of those who completed the intervention met the weight loss goal of 10% of initial body weight. Compared to participants assigned to the conventional protein diet, those assigned to the higher protein diet consumed more protein, along with similar amounts of total fat, saturated, and selected micronutrients, but less fiber. Also, measures of cognitive restraint, flexible restraint and rigid restraint, were consistent and independent predictors of percentage weight loss (P < 0.01), while other eating behaviors, depressive symptoms, and age were not associated with percentage weight loss. Together, these studies add to our understanding of the feasibility of higher protein diets as strategies for weight loss in community-dwelling older women, and eating behaviors that might be targeted to improve weight loss success.