Topical Area: Obesity, Aging and Chronic Disease
An investigation of enabling factors that promote weight loss and barriers to success while enrolled in a weight loss intervention with a duration of 16 weeks.
An exploratory study design using qualitative research techniques included three focus group discussions and 26 semi-structured in-depth interviews with intervention facilitators (six registered dietitians), participants (26 overweight/obese urban Zulu women enrolled in a weight loss intervention) and non-participants (13 overweight/obese urban Zulu women that have never attempted weight loss). Audio recordings were transcribed verbatim to generate seven qualitative data sets, followed by the development of a coding framework. Microsoft Word files were imported into NVivo software as primary documents for qualitative data analysis. Themes generated by focus group discussions, in-depth interviews and field notes were interpreted in conjunction with available literature.
Results : Enabling factors that contributed to enrolment and completion of the weight loss intervention included social support from intervention group members, facilitators, family, friends and colleagues. Other enabling factors included the knowledge gained through intervention facilitators, the weight loss manual used, as well as weight loss. Barriers to weight loss were related to cultural norms of an acceptable body weight, a lack of social support and the stigma associated with weight loss. Other barriers included time constraints, work commitments, family eating habits, an inability to exercise and lack of understanding regarding the concept of increased physical activity to facilitate weight loss, as well as psychological problems such as stress that contribute to an unhealthy lifestyle.
Factors that enable weight loss success include social support, weight loss and knowledge gained in the course of a weight loss intervention. Creating public awareness of the relationship between non-communicable diseases of lifestyle and overweight/obesity among members of the target community through social marketing techniques will not only address the barriers to enrolment in a weight loss intervention, but will increase enrolment and curb drop out.
Funding Sources : University of KwaZulu-Natal, Medical Research Council