The search to unravel the complex phenomenon of obesity has been pursued for centuries. Theoretical postulations regarding the etiology of obesity and subsequent management strategies are numerous and complex. Despite decades of clinical application, the rising prevalence of obesity remains essentially unchanged. Clearly it is time to consider a new perspective. In view of the continued failure of programs to effectively achieve successful long-term weight management, a re-evaluation of the phenomenon of eating is warranted. A grounded theory design provided the opportunity to explore this phenomenon in a new light. This study attempts to understand the phenomenon of eating in adult, American, Caucasian women from the perspective of the reality of the women who experience it. The resulting theory of seeking solace through eating emerged from the context of the social process in which it was embedded. Embracing this new understanding of eating and obesity, realistic strategies may be designed to promote health and reduce the associated morbidity and mortality. Nursing interfaces with people at all phases of the life cycle and, therefore, is in a unique position to influence this continued health problem.

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