Food and Eating Experiences of Older Women in a Retirement Community
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Explores 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. 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.
“Dr. Curch’s research over the past five years has sought to develop a better understanding of why we eat what we do in the ways we do and the meanings derived from food and eating. At least two significant phenomena underscore the urgency and importance of her work. First is the current pandemic of obesity ... the second is the aging of America’s population ... This study, therefore, could not be more timely ... By employing a multidisciplinary survey of both theoretical and applied scientific literature, the author is able to situate the stories of her individual women within a much larger field of knowledge, thus allowing her to suggest explanations of why older women have come to view food and food practices the way they do, and how such things represent an ongoing and, at time, extremely important influence in life ...” (from the Foreword) Professor John F. Watkins, University of Kentucky
“Much research has focused on the physical health outcomes of dietary practices or on the cognitive processes and intrapersonal belief systems influencing food choice and dietary behavior. Dr. Curch, however, chooses to approach her work from a sociological perspective. The result is a clear and powerful argument for the importance of social relationships, roles, and environments as well as sociocultural meanings in the development of attitudes and meanings associated with food, eating and dietary behavior ... Dr. Curch’s book is of great value in advancing the understanding of health behavior, particularly dietary behavior, and it is a must-read for anyone who believes health behavior research has exhausted its methods of approach ... [This study] is also a must-read for not only sociologists and gerontologists but for any clinicians or other health care professionals who work toward health behavior intervention and modification.” – Dr. Janice M. Plahuta, Institute for Healthcare Studies, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago
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