Women's perceptions of the relationship between recent life events, transitions, and diet in midlife: Findings from a focus group study

Natasha A. Brown, Katherine Clegg Smith, Elizabeth Edsall Kromm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Research indicates that history and early life events and trajectories influence women's dietary behaviors. Yet the social context in which recent life changes occur requires greater understanding, particularly regarding changes that embody the interconnectedness of women and their families, and how those changes affect women's dietary decisions and behaviors. The data presented here were the product of eight focus groups conducted in one Maryland county in the fall of 2009. The participants were 43 women with limited financial resources aged 40-64 years. In this analysis, the researchers focus on women's perceptions of the relation of recent life transitions and events to the dietary decisions they made for themselves and their families. The findings suggested that transitions and events related to household structure, health status, phases of motherhood, and shifts in financial and employment status all had the potential to have profound and immediate effects on women's dietary decisions and resulting dietary behaviors. The focus group data was used to consider implications for developing intervention strategies designed to improve self-efficacy and negotiation skills around dietary issues as a means of promoting healthy decision making among women in midlife, particularly in times of familial upheaval and in circumstances where financial resources are limited.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)234-251
Number of pages18
JournalWomen and Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2012



  • dietary decisions
  • life events
  • midlife

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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