Altered eating: A definition and framework for assessment and intervention

Duika Burges Watson, Sue Lewis, V Bryant, J Patterson, C Kelly, R Edwards-Stuart, M Murtagh, V Deary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Eating can be a significant challenge for cancer survivors; however, to date there is no systematic way of assessing and addressing food related quality of life in this group. The purpose of our study was to develop a framework for doing so.

Over the course of 6 years in participant-led food workshops, we worked alongside 25 head and neck cancer (HNC) survivors and their partners, employing video-reflexive ethnographic (VRE) methods. The current study reports on data from the two summative workshops of this series where we worked with participants to cohere the emergent themes. Video and transcripts were reviewed and coded with participants and stakeholders according to domains of life that were affected by food. Three of the authors, one of whom is both survivor and researcher, arrived at the consensus framework.

Seven areas of life were identified as affecting, or being affected by, altered eating. Three were physiological: anatomical, functional and sensory. Two captured the cognitive and behavioural labour of eating. Social life and identity were altered. The foregoing had an enduring emotional impact.

Altered eating has physical, emotional and social consequences. The altered eating framework provides a systematic way of exploring those consequences with individual survivors. This framework has the potential to improve both the assessment and treatment of altered eating, to benefit food-related quality of life.
Original languageEnglish
Article number14
JournalBMC Nutrition
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'Altered eating: A definition and framework for assessment and intervention'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this