Curch, Lisa Books
Dr. Lisa Curch is Assistant Professor in the Sociology Department at the State University of New York – Oneonta. She earned her Ph.D. in Gerontology from the University of Kentucky, Lexington. Her research and teaching focuses on social aspects of aging. Dr. Curch has presented at conferences across the U.S., and is a member of the State Society on Aging of New York and Sigma Phi Omega, a professional/honor society in gerontology.2005 0-7734-5920-0
This study explored how social milieu influences the development and progression of dietary behavior throughout life, the potential of life course transitions to modify dietary behavior, and how a retirement community environment shapes current dietary behavior. The investigation utilized a life course perspective and an ethnographic approach that centered on in-depth interviews of older women residing in a retirement community. The interviews probed current dietary experiences and practices, and constructed histories of dietary behavior. Four levels of influence on dietary behavior were identified: 1) personal factors; 2) interpersonal relationships and social interaction; 3) social roles and statuses; and 4) contexts, particularly environmental, community policy, and political economic contexts. Analysis additionally revealed four major food-related themes in the lives of the women: dietary morality, dietary wellness, dietary sociability and dietary duty. Interpretation of the findings contributed to the development of a theoretical model. The research findings and model of life course influences on the nature of dietary behaviors of older women provide a more holistic understanding of dietary practices of older women and have implications for future research and practice, particularly as related to quality of life issues. This work will be of interest to scholars in gerontology, sociology of food, nutritional sciences, and dietetics.