Background: A qualitative study providing an in-depth exploration of people's view and the increasing burden of overweight and obesity is required. This study aimed to explore the understanding of dieting and previous experiences on weight loss attempts among overweight and obese government employees in Kelantan, Malaysia, prior to recruitment into the intervention program.
Methods: Thirteen focus group discussions involving 129 participants from a weight-loss intervention program were conducted within the first 1 month of recruitment. These discussions were moderated by two trained researchers in the Malay language and assisted by an interview guide. They were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. A thematic analysis was performed, and codes and themes from each discussion were constructed.
Results: The participants understood dieting with various meanings, including skipping meals and removing rice from daily diets. They applied numerous methods to lose weight and achieved various outcomes. Health and appearance, social support, and compliance with current trends were the factors motivating these participants to lose weight. Their determination to lose weight was limited by lack of self-control and motivation, experiences of unpleasant effects, influence on weight, and environmental and health factors.
Conclusion: Real-life weight loss experiences and perceptions provided relevant insights into current weight loss management strategies. Some of these issues and misunderstandings should be emphasized in weight loss strategies during health promotion.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.