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Eating behavior and body image of women with breast cancer 

Journal of Cancer Prevention & Current Research
Mariana Nogueira Faco Franklin de Lima,1 Iana Capistrano Pinto Costa,1 Priscila Carmelita Paiva Dias Mendes Carneiro,2 Sara Maria Moreira Lima Verde3

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Background: The term “eating behavior” refers to all actions involving the act of eating. Body image can be defined by understanding the shape, size, and weight of the body, and encompasses the affective, cognitive, and behavioral components. The objective of this study was to analyze the eating behavior and body image of women with breast cancer.
Methods: This is an observational, cross-sectional, and analytical study conducted at the Centro Regional Integrado de Oncologia, with women aged between 19 and 59 years, diagnosed with breast cancer. Socioeconomic, clinical, anthropometric data, body image and eating behavior of the sample were collected. The Body Shape Questionnaire (BSQ) and the Kakeshita Silhouette Scale were used to evaluate body image, and for eating behavior, the Portuguese version of the Dutch Eating Behavior Questionnaire (DEBQ) was used.
Results: Among the women studied, 43.3% were aged between 50 and 59 years. Overweight was the most prevalent nutritional status in 43.3% of the sample. Women with a mild degree of dissatisfaction presented means of habitual weight (p=0.04), current weight (p=0.02), waist circumference (p=0.04) and BMI (p<0.01) higher than those who did not present any dissatisfaction. Most women, with a predominance of restrained eating behavior, presented a mild degree of body dissatisfaction (p-value=<0.01). All those evaluated who presented a mild degree of dissatisfaction were dissatisfied with body image (p=0.03).
Conclusion: Most of the women evaluated were dissatisfied with body image. Restrained eating behavior was predominant and strongly correlated with mild body dissatisfaction levels. Higher BMI means were found in women who presented mild body dissatisfaction.


eating behavior, nutritional status, body image, breast neoplasms, neoplasms