Older men’s experience of weight loss and weight loss maintenance interventions: qualitative findings from the Lighten Up Plus Trial

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Objectives: We investigate older men’s experiences of weight loss and weight loss maintenance interventions, including commercial slimming clubs and text messaging to encourage regular self-weighing.

Study design: A qualitative study using semi-structured interviews nested within a Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) delivered in the United Kingdom (UK).

Methods: Ten semi-structured interviews were completed with male participants who had completed a funded 12 week commercial weight loss programme and opted to receive continued weight management support as part of a subsequent RCT. A topic guide was used to explore attitudes about barriers and facilitators to weight management, experience of attending a commercial weight loss programme, and current strategies for maintenance. Thematic analysis was used with a constant comparison approach.

Results: Although there was little apprehension prior to attending commercial weight loss programmes, once present men felt uncomfortable and ostracised for being a minority where content and design was felt to be better suited for female attendees. Text based support was easy to use to prevent weight regain. The texts were generic and men wanted more personalisation. Participants were aware of the wider public health discourse around obesity and felt motivated to use weight management strategies, such as self-weighing, to manage their weight. Nevertheless, men required external support to encourage long term weight management.

Conclusion: Overweight and obese older men face potential conflicts when deciding to attend weight loss programmes and the nature of support they wish to receive post attendance. Men did not reject the idea of receiving text messages as a form of support, but felt it distinctly lacked personalisation compared to the face-to-face, weekly, support of being part of a group. The design, delivery and application of text based support to prevent weight regain for overweight and obese men require greater personalisation to provide long term weight management support.
Original languageEnglish
Article number003
Number of pages8
JournalHSOA Journal of Obesity and Weight Loss
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2016


  • Attitudes
  • Men
  • Obesity
  • Qualitative
  • Self-weighing
  • Text message


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