Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Public Health and Nutrition


Menopause is one of the major biological events to occur in a women's lifetime. Although it is considered as a nomial physiological change, its effects often have social and psychological implications. (Morse et al 1993). At present there is minimal information regarding the experience women face during the menopause, particularly in multicultural societies. Currently, Morse et al (1993) from the University of Wollongong are investigating the health experiences of middle aged Italian women in the Illawarra area of N.S.W\ The aims of their research are; • To identify the groups menopausal experiences and attitudes, and compare the findings with those of the dominant culture (Anglo- Australians); • To examine the nutrition of these groups and to relate dietarv' factors to the tv'pe and severity of reported menopausal changes: • Further to consider the role if any, of acculturation of this group within a different dominant host culture that may influence the incidence and character of menopause related morbidity. (Morse et al 1993) At present evidence is mounting that nutritional intake may effect menopausal symptoms. This evidence is focused on phytoestrogens and the oestrogenic activity of certain foods ( Wilcox et al 1990). The purpose of this research project was to prepare a food frequency questionnaire that may be utilised to assess and rank the dietary intake of middle aged Italian women in the Illawarra. The questionnaire is based on data provided by 24 hour recall dietary interviews. A research assistant at the university of Wollongong conducted a series of 24 hour recalls with approximately 10% of the study group population. The data from these recalls was analysed and the dietary information attained was used to develop a winter food frequency questionnaire specific to the middle aged Italian female population of the Illawarra.