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Striving for the thin ideal post-pregnancy: A cross-sectional study of intuitive eating in postpartum women
Objective: To conduct a cross-sectional study of women in the postpartum period to identify relationships between intuitive eating, body image satisfaction, eating attitudes and depressive symptomology. Methods: Women with at least one child born in the previous 6–48 months were recruited via Facebook to complete an online survey which included: sociodemographic and health questions, the Intuitive Eating Scale, the Body Shape Questionnaire, the Multi-dimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire, the Eating Attitudes Test-26 and the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. Descriptive statistics were calculated for all variables and hierarchical regressions used to examine associations between intuitive eating styles, body image satisfaction, eating attitudes and depressive symptomology. Results: Of the 419 women (mean age 32 ± 5.3 years), 32% were classified with intuitive eating styles and were more likely to have higher body image satisfaction (F = 476.80, p < .001), less disordered eating attitudes (F = 30.74, p < .001) and lower depressive symptomology (F = 4.14, p = .042). Conclusions: The postpartum period is a time of high risk for developing/maintaining eating styles that may negatively impact psychological health and well-being. Providing education to new mothers about the benefits of intuitive eating could positively influence their health and well-being.