Psychological constructs, diet quality, and intentional weight loss among post-menopausal middle-aged and older women
Johnson, Kristen Brown
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Older women are one of the subgroups of the Unites States population in which the prevalence of obesity is still rising (Ogden et al 2014). Therefore, research is warranted to determine effective methods for and predictors of weight loss in middle-aged and older women. This dissertation explored the relationship of age and psychological variables with intentional weight loss and change in diet quality in middle-aged and older women enrolled in a weight loss intervention. Two studies were conducted to: 1) determine the relationship of age and change in self-motivation, vitality, and satisfaction with life on intentional weight loss and the likelihood of achieving weight loss goals (10% weight loss) and 2) determine change in diet quality from baseline to post-intervention and the relationship of age and change in self-motivation, vitality, and satisfaction with life with change in diet quality in middle-aged and older women enrolled in a 6-month intentional weight loss intervention who are following an energy restricted (~ -500 kcal/day) higher protein (~30 energy) or conventional protein (~18% energy) diet and with or without exercise. Major findings were that participants were successful in achieving weight loss (-9.3 ± 4.8% initial body weight), and the relationship of age with weight loss was not consistent. An increase in satisfaction with life was significantly associated with achieving weight loss goals. Following the intervention, diet quality improved, but room for additional improvement was found at post-intervention. Older women made a larger number of nutritionally beneficial improvements in diet quality compared to middle-aged women, and higher baseline self-motivation was related to improvements in Healthy Eating Index-2010 total and several component scores. These findings contribute to the understanding of weight loss in middle-aged and older women and the relationship of age and psychological variables with weight loss and change in diet quality.