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Eating Pleasure in a Sample of Obese Brazilian Women: A Qualitative Report of an Interdisciplinary Intervention Based on the Health at Every Size Approach

Published:March 30, 2019DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2019.01.006

      Abstract

      Introduction

      Health at Every Size (HAES) is a weight-neutral approach focused on promoting healthy behaviors in people with different body sizes and on enhancing pleasure derived from consuming food to achieve sustainable healthy eating outcomes. However, to the best of our knowledge, there are no studies in the literature assessing the effects of the HAES approach on perceptions of eating pleasure.

      Objective

      We qualitatively investigated the perceptions of obese women about eating pleasure before and after a new interdisciplinary, nonprescriptive intervention based on the HAES approach.

      Design

      The intervention was a randomized controlled clinical trial, designated as Health and Wellness in Obesity, conducted over 7 months at University of São Paulo (Brazil). We used a qualitative approach to data construction and analysis of perceptions about eating pleasure. Participants were randomized to either the intervention (I-HAES) group or the control (CTRL) group. The I-HAES group featured individual nutritional counseling, group practice of enjoyable physical activity, and philosophical workshops. The CTRL group was a traditional HAES intervention group (lecture-based model). Focus group discussions eliciting perceptions of pleasure around eating were conducted at baseline and post-study. Focus group transcripts were analyzed by exploratory content analysis.

      Participants

      Forty-three women aged 25 to 50 years with body mass index (measured in kilograms per square meter) between 30 and 39. 9 completed the intervention and the focus groups, with 32 in the I-HAES group and 11 in the CTRL group.

      Results

      Lack of guilt about experiencing pleasure while eating and increased reflection on their own desires increased in participants of both groups after the study. The I-HAES group also displayed a greater sense of autonomy related to eating, increased pleasure in commensality, familiarity with the practice of cooking, and decreased automatic eating.

      Conclusion

      HAES-based intervention featuring nutritional counseling, appreciation for physical activity, and philosophical engagement was shown to stimulate pleasure around eating without leading to indiscriminate eating.

      Keywords

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      Biography

      F. Sabatini is a PhD candidate, School of Public Health, Department of Nutrition, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.

      Biography

      M. D. Ulian is a postdoctoral student, School of Public Health, Department of Nutrition, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.

      Biography

      A. Vessoni is a master's student, School of Public Health, Department of Nutrition, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.

      Biography

      P. de M. Sato is a postdoctoral student, School of Public Health, Department of Nutrition, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.

      Biography

      F. B. Scagliusi is a professor, School of Public Health, Department of Nutrition, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.

      Biography

      I. Perez is a nutritionist, Unified Health System of Brazil, São Paulo, Brazil; at the time of the study, she was a master's student, School of Public Health, Department of Nutrition, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.

      Biography

      A. Jéssica Pinto is a PhD candidate, Applied Physiology & Nutrition Research Group, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.

      Biography

      F. B. Benatti is a professor, Applied Physiology & Nutrition Research Group, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.

      Biography

      D. Coelho is a professor, Applied Physiology & Nutrition Research Group, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.

      Biography

      B. Gualano is a professor, Applied Physiology & Nutrition Research Group, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.

      Biography

      L. Aburad is a nutritionist in private practice, São Paulo, Brazil; at the time of the study, he was a master's student, School of Public Health, Department of Nutrition, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.

      Biography

      P. L. de Campos-Ferraz is a professor, Faculty of Applied Sciences, State University of Campinas, Limeira, Brazil.

      Biography

      O. J. Roble is a professor, Faculty of Physical Education, State University of Campinas, Campinas, Brazil.

      Biography

      R. F. Unsain is a professor, Institute of Health and Society, Federal University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.

      Biography

      R. C. Schuster is a professor, Center for Global Health, Arizona State University, Tempe.