Body image concerns and intuitive eating in older women

Appetite. 2021 Sep 1:164:105275. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2021.105275. Epub 2021 Apr 26.


Intuitive eating has been described as representing a positive relationship with food that can support health. However, to date, most of the extant research on intuitive eating has been conducted among young women, limiting our understanding of how intuitive eating can contribute to supporting health in aging women. This study aimed to bridge this gap by exploring body image and eating correlates of intuitive eating in older women. The hypotheses were that among older women, intuitive eating would be significantly associated with lower disordered eating, weight and shape concerns, and fewer depressive symptoms, and that an indirect relationship between BMI and intuitive eating via weight and shape concerns would exist. Community women aged 60-75 (N = 200) completed questionnaires assessing intuitive eating, disordered eating, body concern, depressive symptoms and body mass index (BMI). Higher intuitive eating global scores were associated with lower restraint, lower eating concern, lower body concern, fewer depressive symptoms, and lower BMI. An indirect relationship between BMI and intuitive eating via weight and shape concern emerged, suggesting that being preoccupied by one's appearance hinder the ability to practice intuitive eating. These results suggest that intuitive eating is associated with positive outcomes among older women and might be a useful target for interventions designed to increase healthy aging.

Keywords: Body dissatisfaction; Eating pattern; Healthy aging; Intuitive eating; Older women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Body Image*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Eating
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Surveys and Questionnaires