Session Title: Poster Session 1
Category: Psychosocial determinants of self-management
Presentation Date: Friday, November 07, 2008
WEIGHT CONTROL, HEALTHY FOOD, AND SUFFICIENT PHYSICAL ACTIVITY; THAT´S IT - OR IS IT?
J. Laitinen1, M. Alahuhta1, A.-M. Keränen2, T. Jokelainen3, E. Korkiakangas1
1Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Oulu, Finland, 2University of Oulu, Department on Internal Medicine, Oulu, Finland, 3Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
Background: To improve the effectiveness of lifestyle counselling, it is important to understand the perceptions and attitudes towards obesity and weight control among overweight subjects. The aim of this study was to examine how people who had high risk of type 2 diabetes describe their weight control.
Methods: 74 people with high risk of type 2 diabetes attended group counselling by a clinical nutritionist. During group counselling they described their perception of their own weight control. Group counselling was videotaped and analysed using inductive content analyses.
Results: When describing their efforts at weight control, the subjects discussed experiences of both being overweight and loosing weight. They felt that obese people were considered as stupid, pitiful, sinful, and lacking ambition and self-control. They had experienced that increased body weight often results in decreased personal credibility. Being obese was hard, unpractical and unhealthy. The subjects were ashamed of being obese and suffered from self-contempt. In addition, they made comments on other obese people, for instance when coming across younger obese people: “I wonder how big he/she is going to be at 40”. Regardless of their actual weight, some would always considered themselves as thin, others fat, while yet others would be satisfied with their size. Many talked about a long history of weight watching.
Conclusion: Offering information about a healthy diet and the effects of exercise on health is necessary in counselling. Additionally, attention should be paid to the person's whole life situation, feelings, attitudes, experiences and values.