Users of weight management services: Qualitative research
Summary of findings
N.B: The following is largely drawn from the conclusions and recommendations of the project. A very detailed summary of the findings from the ‘service users’ is contained within the report.
- There is a great need for public authorities to do more to convert the emerging understanding of the link between obesity and ill-health into action to prompt people to take more care of themselves.
- Previously, the desire to lose weight has been driven by aesthetic reasons. This is now being joined by consideration of health. The NHS has been slow to join the battle to help people to lose weight.
- People are becoming increasingly aware of the gap which, in their minds, should naturally be filled by publicly funded services.
- The NHS has a great opportunity to fill this gap, as it can put the needs of the participant first, and has great knowledge and expertise.
- Existing programmes, currently available to only a few who perhaps have greatest need, have developed the experience and interventions that appear to work well for those who experience them. There is a need for these to be rolled out to a greater number of people. Those who have taken part can be used to promote their experiences to others.
- In communicating the new schemes, there is the opportunity to use the latest demand for publicly funded programmes to generate a ‘cachet’ which could help build awareness and appeal and demand. This could reduce the cost of marketing the programmes.
- Referral by doctors and other clinicians will remain an important way in which potential participants are connected with programmes. However, in the longer term, it will be necessary to engage in mass social marketing activities, including leafleting and above the line media advertising.
- Even so, the approach should be one that emphasises accessibility and which has with it a realism that is sadly lacking in many commercial weight loss programmes’ marketing activities.
The aim of the project was to:
- Prevent year on year weight gain and to achieve weight loss that results in health benefits within the adult population of Kirklees.
The research aim was to:
- Scope the behaviours and motivational issues related to weight management with the chosen target audience to inform current and future weight management provision in Kirklees.
Within these aims, the research objectives were to:
- Identify the key contributing factors towards obesity in obese adults in Kirklees that are undertaking weight management activities.
- Identify barriers and facilitating factors influencing the target audience’s participation in different weight management activities.
- Assess participants’ experiences of their success in losing weight from the different weight management activities.
The Kirklees Partnership, representing all the main partners’ organisations in Kirklees has identified obesity as a major health challenge for the area. An Obesity Programme Plan has been developed to ensure there is a coordinated set of actions in place to tackle obesity.
Kirklees PCT, on behalf of the Council and its partners, commissioned qualitative research to assist in the development of a marketing and communications strategy, focusing specifically on people living in Kirklees who are over 16 years old and have a BMI of 30 or higher and are currently undertaking weight management activity, and have done so in the last 12 months.>
The research findings will be used to inform the development of weight management provision in Kirklees and communication with the target audience, thus encouraging participation in appropriate weight management activity.
Research to inform the development of adults’ weight management provision in Kirklees, and to assist the development of a marketing and communications strategy to encourage participation in appropriate weight management activities.
Not specified, except for one group which was conducted amongst Punjabi-speaking women from the South Asian community drawn from areas around Huddersfield.
All over 16. Groups spit into <35 and >35.
The main part of the research comprised 4x 1.5 hour focus groups, each containing 5-10 respondents. Groups structured as follows:
- Commercial weight management activities. Under 35. Huddersfield.
- Commercial weight management activities. Over 35. Batley.
- Self-help weight management. Under 35. Huddersfield.
- Self-help weight management. Over 35. Batley.
Respondents were recruited on the street and using contacts connected to commercial weight management organisations. A good spread of respondents in terms of type of weight management activity, gender and age was achieved.
A fifth group (7 respondents) was conducted with people who had attended the Get Food Wise & Exercise programme.
A sixth group (7 respondents) was conducted in Huddersfield amongst members of the South Asian community. These were mainly older Punjabi-speaking women who were attendees of the ‘South Asian Healthy Living Partnership’. The group was conducted via a translator.
Data collection methodology
- 4x groups each comprising 5-10 respondents
- 2x groups each comprising 7 respondents
Batley, Huddersfield and surrounding area (Almondbury, Birkby, Greenhead, Mount and Oakes).
26th March, and 3rd, 7th and 11th April 2008.