Food motivation: content analysis of Châtelaine women's magazine

Sima Hamadeh (Department of Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada)
Marie Marquis (Department of Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada)

Nutrition & Food Science

ISSN: 0034-6659

Publication date: 8 February 2008



The purpose of this study is to explore the continuity and/or rupture in food motivations as revealed from documents issued from Châtelaine in 1960‐1961, 1970, 1980 and 1990.


A historical content analysis was used to explore the food motivations in Châtelaine. A total of 51 issues were read and all documents referring to food and nutrition were photocopied except for advertisements. Variables associated with each document were grouped into four themes: health and diseases, food and nutrition, body and society. Descriptive statistics were conducted using SPSS (version 10.1, 1999).


Overall, the content analysis has indicated that food and nutrition is the dominant motivation (n  =  430) followed by health and disease (n  =  292), society (n  =  71) and body concerns (n  =  70). Each decade was associated with major sub‐themes. In brief, 1960 was the year of food, family and tradition; 1970 was the transition year; 1980 was the year of knowledge, culpability and environment; 1990 was the nutritional education year.

Research limitations/implications

Study done using the first year of each decade and in a single magazine cannot be generalized. Moreover, these results are specific to a French‐Canadian context. Further research on other media could provide more insight into some of the relationships explored in this study.


The findings suggest that the dominant motivations are projecting in a different way from one year to another. These results support the need to take into consideration the role of media in shaping women's food preferences and the evolution of these motivations over time.



Hamadeh, S. and Marquis, M. (2008), "Food motivation: content analysis of Châtelaine women's magazine", Nutrition & Food Science, Vol. 38 No. 1, pp. 52-60.

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