Bone Health in Adult Women: The Relevance of Dietary Restraint, Cortisol Excretion and Nutrition-Related Stress

Candice Rideout is fascinated with bones. Despite a perception that bones are static once we’re fully grown, they’re actually ever-changing, which intrigues Candice. She is also interested in how nutritional behaviours affect bone health. The two interests come together in her research. Candice, who transferred from a Masters to PhD program, is examining bone health in adult women, looking specifically at possible links between dietary restraint, stress and bone density. The first phase of the research involved a broad survey of more than 1000 healthy postmenopausal women. Phase II will be an intensive study of a sub-group of women from the first phase, in which Candice will investigate the hypothesis that high levels of dietary restraint (the perception that one is constantly monitoring and attempting to limit food intake in an effort to achieve or maintain a desired weight) is associated with increased stress and possibly lower bone density. The diet and physical health of Phase II participants will be studied over a three-month period. Candice hopes this research will contribute to a better understanding of how nutritional factors relate to women’s health and wellbeing.