Thumbnail Image

Understanding weight management experiences from patient perspectives: Qualitative exploration in general practice

BACKGROUND: Obesity is a complex health issue affecting the quality of life of individuals and contributing to an unsustainable strain on healthcare professionals and national health systems. National policy guidelines indicate that general practice is best suited to deliver obesity healthcare, however, obesity rates continue to rise worldwide indicating interventions are ineffective in this space. The aim of this study was to explore the weight management experiences from patient perspectives. METHODS: This qualitative study used semi-structured interviews with 16 rural Waikato general practice patients. Interviews were analysed using reflexive thematic analysis. RESULTS: Four themes were identified: Inconsistent Information, Significance of Holistic Factors, Obesity Centre Need, and Education. Participants expressed frustration at contradictory health messages, commercial company and 'expert' definition distrust, and that 'holistic' aspects to health significant to the weight management journey were unable to be addressed in general practice. CONCLUSION: Whilst primary care is positioned as suitable for delivering obesity healthcare, this study found that participants do not perceive general practice to be equipped to deliver this care. Instead, participants argued for a specialist obesity centre capable of meeting all their obesity healthcare needs. Further, wider issues including on-line commodification of health and neo-liberal capitalism - factors that exploit people with a stigmatised health issue - can cause further harm to the participant. A radical modernisation of education, information, and resources from regulated, qualified and 'trusted' healthcare professionals who can provide safe, non-stigmatising supportive services is recommended to meet the unique and changing food climate, reduce obesity rates and improve health outcomes.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
BioMed Central (BMC)
This article has been published in the journal: BMC Primary Care. © The Authors 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original authors and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made.