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Better understanding needed of why people engage with weight management programmes

Design of weight management programmes is stronger predictor of engagement than participant characteristics, say researchers 
Weight Management programme

Greater understanding of the motivations for engaging with weight management programmes could help predict positive outcomes, a new study suggests.

Researchers from Leeds Beckett University examined data from nearly 3,000 children attending a weight management programme between 2009 and 2014.

They found that the design and format of weight management programmes are stronger predictors of engagement than participants characteristics such as gender, age, ethnicity, and body mass index and whether or not they might complete the programme.

Being in group sizes of fewer than 20 participants and having programmes delivered in autumn and winter were associated with better engagement, the researchers said.

Lead study author James Nobles said the findings challenge those of previous studies which have suggested that analysis of participants characteristics before attending a programme can predict engagement.

We would like to see other factors investigated instead, such as social support,

...

Greater understanding of the motivations for engaging with weight management programmes could help predict positive outcomes, a new study suggests. 

Researchers from Leeds Beckett University examined data from nearly 3,000 children attending a weight management programme between 2009 and 2014.

They found that the design and format of weight management programmes are stronger predictors of engagement than participants’ characteristics – such as gender, age, ethnicity, and body mass index – and whether or not they might complete the programme. 

Being in group sizes of fewer than 20 participants and having programmes delivered in autumn and winter were associated with better engagement, the researchers said. 

Lead study author James Nobles said the findings challenge those of previous studies which have suggested that analysis of participants’ characteristics before attending a programme can predict engagement. 

‘We would like to see other factors investigated instead, such as social support, motivation and programme expectation,’ he said. 

‘We know that around half of children who attend weight management programmes do not go on to complete them. It is of utmost importance that we understand why families engage in weight management, as these high attrition rates compromise both the effectiveness of the programmes and their cost efficiency.’ 

 

Nobles J et al (2016) Design programmes to maximise participant engagement: a predictive study of programme and participant characteristics associated with engagement in paediatric weight management. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. doi: 10.1186/s12966-016-0399-1

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