Background: The internet is a potentially promising medium for delivering weight loss interventions. The current study sought to explore factors that might influence primary care patients' initial uptake and continued use (up to four-weeks) of such programmes to help inform the development of novel, or refinement of existing, weight management interventions.
Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 patients purposively sampled based on age, gender and BMI from a single rural general practice. The interviews were conducted 4 weeks after recruitment at the general practice and focused on experiences with using one of three freely available weight loss websites. Thematic Analysis was used to analyse the data.
Results: Findings suggested that patients were initially motivated to engage with internet-based weight loss programmes by their accessibility and novelty. However, continued use was influenced by substantial facilitators and barriers, such as time and effort involved, reaction to prompts/reminders, and usefulness of information. Facilitation by face-to-face consultations with the GP was reported to be helpful in supporting change.
Conclusions: Although primary care patients may not be ready yet to solely depend on online interventions for weight loss, their willingness to use them shows potential for use alongside face-to-face weight management advice or intervention. Recommendations to minimise barriers to engagement are provided.
- Journal Article