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Keywords:

  • diet score;
  • weight gain;
  • The Australian Recommended Food Score;
  • middle-aged women

Abstract

Objective : To evaluate the relationship between diet quality score, as measured by the Australian Recommended Food Score (ARFS) and six-year weight gain in middle-aged Australian women.

Methods : Participants were a sub-sample of women from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health (ALSWH) who were followed up from 2001 to 2007 (n= 7,155, aged 48 to 56 years). The ARFS was derived from responses to a sub-set of questions from a food frequency questionnaire, with possible scores ranging from 0 to 74 (maximum). Absolute weight gain was calculated from the difference in self-reported weight between 2001 and 2007. Linear regression was used to test the relationship between diet score and weight change.

Results : On average, women gained weight during follow-up (1.6 ± 6.2 kg) and had a mean baseline ARFS of 32.6 (SD 8.7) which was not optimal. There was no association between ARFS and weight change during follow-up (β= 0.016; p=0.08) in the fully adjusted model that included total energy intake, education, area of residence, baseline weight, physical activity, smoking and menopause status.

Conclusions : Weight gain and low ARFS were common. However, diet quality as measured by the ARFS did not predict six-year weight gain.

Implications : This lack of association may be due to limitations related to AFRS, or may be a false negative finding. Further research is warranted to evaluate the impact of promoting optimal diet quality on weight gain prospectively.