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Healthy midlife Canadian women: how bone health is considered in their food choice systems

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Abstract Background: 

The incidence of osteoporosis is predicted to increase as Western populations age. Diet is considered to be an important modifiable factor in bone health, yet the diets of many women are insufficient in calcium and vitamin D, which comprise two key nutrients for bone health. This focus group study explored ways in which midlife women consider bone health in their personal food choice systems. Methods: 

Data were obtained in six audio-recorded focus groups from a total of 36 women from upper, middle and lower income neighbourhoods. Open and axial coding and thematic analysis revealed shared and unique themes across and within the income groups. Use of member checks, peer debriefing, and independent and team data analysis enhanced rigour in the findings. Results: 

All participants were aware of osteoporosis. Most women idealised making simple food decisions and eating for ‘holistic’ health, but not specifically for bone health. Most midlife women were not motivated to change their diets, few had deliberately increased their intake of calcium and vitamin D through foods and supplements, and few others had simplified their food decisions. Conclusions: 

Midlife women in the present study did not make eating for bone health a priority in their food choice systems. Instead, women wanted to eat for ‘holistic’ health, and only by implication bone health.

Keywords: bone health; focus groups; food choice; midlife; women

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-02-01

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