An investigation of obese adults’ views of the outcomes of dietary treatment

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Abstract Background 

Although recommendations about the treatment of obesity have been well documented, there is little research into how obese individuals view the outcomes of dietary treatment. It has been suggested that patient involvement in evaluating treatment outcomes may help target issues to assist with the ongoing improvement of dietetic services. The aim of this qualitative study was to collect patients’ views on the dietetic service, the treatment outcomes in terms of lifestyle change and the impact that attending the dietetic service had on their lives in order to improve dietetic treatment, and to assist in the selection of appropriate outcome measurements in the future. Methods 

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 24 obese patients attending dietetic clinics in Ayrshire, West of Scotland for weight management (advice on healthy eating and physical activity to achieve an energy deficit). Patients’ views were transcribed, grouped and coded using content analysis. Results 

Views included the importance of attending the dietitian for support to achieve weight management and a need to ‘feel accountable to someone’. Interviewees valued information provided regarding diet, physical activity, behavioural strategies and the risks of obesity. Patients described the impact of obesity on their lives and identified changes to their lifestyles and health since attending the dietitian. They also identified barriers to change, e.g. feeling frustrated and overwhelmed about the changes necessary. Conclusion 

This study extends the current knowledge of patients’ views of their treatment outcomes, which may be important in helping dietitians devise appropriate patient-centred outcome measures. However, as this is a small sample, further long term research into a wider range of current and discharged patients’ views is required.

Keywords: dietetic treatment; obesity; patient-centred outcomes; patients’ views

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Biological and Biomedical Sciences, School of Life Sciences, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK 2: Nursing Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals Research Unit, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK

Publication date: October 1, 2007

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