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Methods of Patterning Eating Behaviors of American Women


Haines, Pamela S.; Popkin, Barry M.; & Guilkey, David K. (1990). Methods of Patterning Eating Behaviors of American Women. Journal of Nutrition Education, 22(3), 124-132.


This study examined alternate methods for defining the eating patterns of adult women. Goals were 1) to identify single versus multi-location eating patterns, defined by food sources, and 2) to determine personal, household, and demographic characteristics of the women in each pattern. The sample included women aged 19 to 50 years, surveyed as part of the 1985 Continuing Survey of Food Intake by Individuals (USDA-CSFII85). Three days of dietary data were averaged to obtain the measures for categorizing women into eating patterns. Eating patterns were defined in terms of consumption location and percent of energy consumed per food source. An ad hoc method classified women by the single largest source of energy. Cluster analysis was used to simultaneously consider intakes at eight food consumption locations to identify eating patterns. Ten multi-dimensional patterns were defined by cluster analysis, including four eating patterns in which women consumed predominant quantities of restaurant and fast food. In contrast, eight eating patterns were identified for the ad hoc grouping method. Although some similarities existed across grouping methods, multi-dimensional patterns identified through cluster analysis provided additional marketing segmentation not provided by the ad hoc grouping method. Eating patterns differed with respect to employment status, income, age, and other selected personal and household characteristics.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Nutrition Education


Haines, Pamela S.
Popkin, Barry M.
Guilkey, David K.