Stages of change and the intake of dietary fat in African-American women: improving stage assignment using the Eating Styles Questionnaire

J Am Diet Assoc. 1999 Nov;99(11):1392-9. doi: 10.1016/S0002-8223(99)00338-7.


Objective: To develop an algorithm for determining the stage of change for dietary fat intake in African-American women.

Design: We examined the relationships between stage of change, dietary fat intake, and associated eating behaviors and developed an assessment tool for placing subjects in their appropriate stage of change.

Subjects: Working class and middle-income African-American women in Nashville, Tenn; 174 in study 1 and 208 in study 2.

Statistical analyses: Fat and fiber intake by stage of change was examined using multivariate analysis of variance. Hierarchical cluster analysis was performed using Ward's method.

Results: A significant difference in fat intake was noted between women trying to change their intake and those not trying to change in study 1 (P < .001) and study 2 (P < .03). Of those trying to change, only 34% (study 1) and 9% (study 2) of subjects reported fat intakes below the Healthy People 2000 goal of 30% of energy from fat. In study 1, cluster analysis identified 14 groups of foods that significantly separated subjects into not trying, noncompliant, and compliant categories. Compliant subjects ate out less; ate fewer snack foods and less chicken, meat, and fat; and ate more fruits, vegetables, breakfast foods, and low-fat products. These results led to development of the Eating Styles Questionnaire (study 2), which facilitated more appropriate placement of the noncompliant group in stages of change for dietary fat intake.

Applications/conclusions: These data support the stage construct of the Transtheoretical Model for dietary fat reduction in African-American women. Moreover, the Eating Styles Questionnaire (ESQ) can improve determination of stage of change for this group of women. The ESQ can be used to diagnose the eating styles that contribute to a high-fat intake and help in the design of interventions to lower fat intakes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Black or African American* / psychology
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage
  • Eating / psychology*
  • Educational Status
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Biological
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Social Class
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*


  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Fiber