Weight maintenance as a tight rope walk - a Grounded Theory study

Lindvall, Kristina; Larsson, Christel; Weinehall, Lars; Emmelin, Maria
January 2010
BMC Public Health;2010, Vol. 10 Issue 1, p51
Academic Journal
Background: Overweight and obesity are considerable public health problems internationally as well as in Sweden. The long-term results of obesity treatment are modest as reported by other studies. The importance of extending the focus to not only comprise obesity treatment but also prevention of weight gain is therefore being emphasized. However, despite the suggested change in focus there is still no consensus on how to prevent obesity or maintain weight. This study reports findings from a qualitative study focusing on attitudes, behaviors and strategies important for primary weight maintenance in a middle-aged population. Methods: In depth interviews were conducted with 23 maintainers and four slight gainers in Sweden. The interviews were transcribed and an analysis of weight maintenance was performed using Grounded Theory. Results: Based on the informants' stories, describing attitudes, behaviors and strategies of importance for primary weight maintenance, a model illustrating the main findings, was constructed. Weight maintenance was seen as "a tightrope walk" and four strategies of significance for this "tightrope walk" were described as "to rely on heritage", "to find the joy", "to find the routine" and "to be in control". Eleven "ideal types" were included in the model to illustrate different ways of relating to the main strategies. These "ideal types" described more specific attitudes and behaviors such as; eating food that is both tasteful and nutritious, and choosing exercise that provides joy. However, other somewhat contradictory behaviors were also found such as; only eating nutritious food regardless of taste, and being physically active to control stress and emotions. Conclusion: This study show great variety with regards to attitudes, strategies and behaviors important for weight maintenance, and considerations need to be taken before putting the model into practice. However, the results from this study can be used within primary health care by enhancing the understanding of how people differ in their relation to food and physical activity. It informs health personnel about the need to differentiate advices related to body weight, not only to different sub-groups of individuals aiming at losing weight but also to subgroups of primary weight maintainers aiming at maintaining weight.


Related Articles

  • The Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity in Britain, Canada, and the United States. Millar, Wayne J.; Stephens, Thomas // American Journal of Public Health;Jan1987, Vol. 77 Issue 1, p38 

    Abstract: Three nations carried out large surveys of their non-institutionalized populations during the period 1976-81, with essentially similar techniques for measuring height and weight. Using criteria previously published for the British survey, we analyzed the Canadian and Untied Stales data...

  • Increasing Obesity Rates And Disability Trends. Sturm, Roland; Ringel, Jeanne S.; Andreyeva, Tatlana // Health Affairs;Mar/Apr2004, Vol. 23 Issue 2, p199 

    Are older Americans becoming more or less disabled? Unhealthy body weight has increased dramatically, but other data show that disability rates have declined. We use data from the Health and Retirement Study to estimate the association between obesity and disability, and we combine these data...

  • Strong beliefs on personal responsibilities and negative attitudes towards the child with obesity among teachers and parents. Jiménez-Cruz, Arturo; Castellón-Zaragoza, Ana María; García-Gallardo, José Luis; Bacardí-Gascón, Montserrat; Hovell, M. F. // Revista Biomedica;may-ago2008, Vol. 19 Issue 2, p84 

    Introduction. It has been reported in industrialized countries that overweight or obesity is a stigmatizing condition. Negative attitudes towards obesity have been linked to incorrect beliefs about the causes of weight gain and the responsibilities of such overweight on obese people and their...

  • Detecting overweight children in primary care: Do national data reflect the typical urban practice? Sutu, Elena; Crespo, Carlos J.; Shine, Barbara; Doshi, Anita; Quattrin, Teresa // Journal of Family Practice;Nov2006, Vol. 55 Issue 11, p976 

    The article presents a study which aims to obtain data about the feasibility of detecting risk for overweight and overweight in infants and young children seen for well-child visits based on pediatricians' standard practice, to compare these estimates with the national data, and to compare the...

  • Ten-year trends in overweight and obesity among Danish men and women aged 30–60 years. Heitmann, B L // International Journal of Obesity & Related Metabolic Disorders;Oct2000, Vol. 24 Issue 10, p1347 

    INTRODUCTION: The prevalence of obesity is increasing worldwide. Published data of the development of obesity among adult Danes is based primarily on self-reported information of body weight and height. The objective of the study was, therefore, to describe the development over 10 y in moderate...

  • Serum Leptin Levels in Obese Males During Over- and Underfeeding. Cooper, Jamie A.; Polonsky, Kenneth S.; Schoeller, Dale A. // Obesity (19307381);Dec2009, Vol. 17 Issue 12, p2149 

    Leptin levels in lean adults vary in response to short-term alterations in energy balance. We tested whether leptin responded to short-term changes in energy balance in obese males in a similar manner to lean individuals. We enrolled eight obese, healthy males in a 12-day study composed of four...

  • Obesity a heavy burden in Nova Scotia. Moulton, Donalee // CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal;11/28/2000, Vol. 163 Issue 11, p1497 

    Reports on the rate of obesity in Nova Scotia, as of November, 2000. How the obesity rate more than doubled between 1985 and 1997; Perceived reasons for obesity, including junk food, physical inactivity and rising stress rates; Recommendations, including requiring school cafeterias to serve...

  • The Relative Contribution of Prepregnancy Overweight and Obesity, Gestational Weight Gain, and IADPSG-Defined Gestational Diabetes Mellitus to Fetal Overgrowth. BLACK, MARY HELEN; SACKS, DAVID A.; XIANG, ANNY H.; LAWRENCE, JEAN M. // Diabetes Care;Jan2013, Vol. 36 Issue 1, p56 

    OBJECTIVE--The International Association of Diabetes in Pregnancy Study Groups (IADPSG) criteria for diagnosis of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) identifies women and infants at risk for adverse outcomes, which are also strongly associated with maternal overweight, obesity, and excess...

  • CHAPTER 56: OBESITY. Miller, Richard K.; Washington, Kelli D. // Healthcare Business Market Research Handbook;2006, p313 

    Chapter 56 of the book "The 2006 Healthcare Business Market Research Handbook" is presented. It examines the obesity epidemic in the U.S. The health impact of obesity and the economic cost of obesity are summarized. It discusses obesity in children and the elderly. The states that have the...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics