Food choice, eating behavior, and food liking differs between lean/normal and overweight/obese, low-income women

Heidi Dressler, Chery Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


The higher rate of obesity among low-income women has widely been attributed to environmental barriers; however, many low-income women are still able to maintain a healthy weight despite obesogenic environments. To better understand personal and behavioral attributes related to food choice and weight, overweight/obese women and lean/normal weight women living in similar low-income environments, participated in focus groups, and taste testing sessions to investigate food liking (n=83). During focus groups, lean/normal weight participants reported that health was influential in food choice, while overweight/obese participants expressed cost as being more of a factor. Both BMI (kg/m2) groups reported that taste was of greatest importance. Personal factors, like emotional eating, and overeating were also discussed with differences noted between BMI (kg/m2) groups. Quantitative data also showed cost to be more important for overweight/obese women. Taste testing results revealed that overweight/obese participants had a higher overall liking for both healthy and less healthy foods, as well as other food categories. Additionally, these women had a higher liking of fat in the context of spreadable fats. Our results show that a variety of complex factors interact to influence eating behavior and present weight status of women living in similarly impoverished environments. However, findings from this exploratory study should be confirmed through further research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-152
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Jun 1 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements: We would like to thank all of the women who participated in this study. Further, we would like to thank Diana Brostow for her early assistance with this project. This project was funded through USDA SNAP-ED.

Copyright 2013 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Eating behavior
  • Food choice
  • Food liking
  • Low-income
  • Obesity


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