Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Science


Nutrition and Food Sciences

First Advisor

Kathleen Melanson


Obesity is a major health problem in the United States. Food insecurity is related to obesity, especially in women. Obesity is associated with a fast eating rate (ER) and failure to reduce ER during meals. The purpose of this research is to measure ER in food insecure women in community settings utilizing a novel, mobile measurement system using laptop computers. Low-income women (n=20), ages 18-65 (mean±SD age= 46.5±13.7 years) with a body mass index (BMI) over 18.5 kg/m2 (mean±SD BMI=35.7±6.6 kg/m2) were recruited from a food pantry and free clinic in Rhode Island. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Adult Food Security Survey Module was used: participants scored in the secure (n=0), marginal (n=1), low (n=4), or very low (n=15) range. Scores of high and marginal were categorized food secure (n=1), and of low and very low as food insecure (n=19). Women were video recorded eating a test meal (400g, 842 kcal vegetable frittata), which was covertly weighed pre and post consumption. Eating rate (g/min), duration (min), energy intake (kcals), total intake (g), kcals/minute, bite size (g/bite), and quartile eating rate (bites/quartile) were calculated. Video recordings were divided into quartiles (Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4) and bites/quartile was calculated. Thirteen video recordings were included: food secure (n=1) (mean±SD ER 53.9 g/min) and food insecure (n=12) (mean±SD ER 55.1±19.1g/min). Quartile results found that Q1 eating rate was slower (n=7), faster (n=3), or the same as Q2 (n=2). Two patterns emerged: accelerated eaters with faster Q4 ER (n=6), or decelerated eaters with decreased Q4 ER (n=7). The novel methodology limited the study and modifications to methodology need to be made.


Thesis includes two different abstracts. One in page ii and the other on page 2-3.



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