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Evaluation of an Asian women’s healthy eating and exercise group

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Background: A healthy eating and exercise group for Asian women was established in April 1996. A community dietitian, fitness instructor and link worker took part in running the group and funding was provided by Trafford Healthcare NHS Trust and Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council. The group was run as a 14-week pilot project, however, due to a positive response the group was continued.

Aims: To follow up participants in the programme and examine their perceptions of the programme and changes in weight.

Methods: Thirteen of the 15 overweight or obese women who attended the initial pilot group were followed up and qualitative evaluation was undertaken using a semistructured interview. Measurement of weight change was also made.

Results: Formal methods of recruiting participants appear to have had little impact. Verbal recommendation of the group by the Link Worker and participants appear to have been effective routes for recruiting. Respondents suggested that the group fulfilled social and weight loss functions, both functions being interrelated and affecting weight. Important reasons for no longer attending the group seem to include difficulty getting to the venue and prioritization of the needs of the family over the women’s own needs.

Conclusions: Some implications for the group are that women should be encouraged to walk to the group with others and it should be stressed that coming to the group and learning about healthy eating and exercise is important for the women’s health and also that of their families. Exercise was a popular aspect of the group and it is recommended that exercise sessions are held more frequently for a trial period. The resulting effects on attendance could then be assessed. All women could relate their weight change to diet and exercise in some way. The women who reported that they would definitely re-attend the group were generally those with a higher BMI (body mass index).
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Keywords: Asian communities; evaluation; exercise; obesity; weight loss group

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Community Dietitian, Trafford Healthcare NHS Trust, Manchester 2: Community Liaison Link Worker, Trafford Healthcare NHS Trust, Manchester

Publication date: 1999-04-01

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