Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Science


Nutrition and Food Sciences

First Advisor

Ingrid Lofgren


Statement of the problem: There have been no studies examining a combination of behaviorally-based dietary education, resistance training, and Tai Chi on dietary quality and resilience.

Objectives: To examine the effect of a behaviorally-based diet education, resistance training, and Tai Chi intervention on dietary quality as well as physical resilience in obese older women.

Design: Community health outreach with a non-randomized quasi-experimental design. Setting: Urban senior center in Providence, Rhode Island.

Participants: There were 33 women with mean age of 65 ± 8.2 years and BMI of 37.3 ± 4.6 kg/m2 who were enrolled in the study at baseline however only 17 women in the intervention group and 9 women in the control group completed the study.

Intervention: Participants engaged in 12 weeks of 45 minutes of Tai Chi 3 times per week, resistance training 2 times per week, and behaviorally-based dietary education once per week. The dietary education was based off of the modified Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet and led by a registered dietitian.

Measurements: Testing occurred at baseline and post-intervention. Dietary quality and nutrition risk were measured using the Dietary Screening Tool (DST), resilience was measured by the Resilience Scale, and physical resilience was examined using the Physical Resilience Scale.

Results: Although there was no significant effect for dietary quality in terms of group and time (p=0.078), the proportion of variance that dietary quality is explained by the intervention was considered a large effect (partial eta2 = 0.147). There was no change seen in resilience, however the intervention improved physical resilience (p=0.048, partial eta2 = 0.17).

Conclusion: A community health outreach that involved behaviorally-based dietary education, resistance training, and Tai Chi may promote higher dietary quality as well as improve physical residence in obese older women.



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