Barriers to Engagement in a Workplace Weight Management Program: A Qualitative Study.
PURPOSE: To investigate (1) why some participants in a workplace weight management program were more engaged in the program, (2) specific barriers and facilitators for engagement and weight loss, and (3) suggest how workplaces may better engage employees in these programs to improve their effectiveness. DESIGN: Qualitative study (8 focus groups). SETTING: A large academic university and medical system. PARTICIPANTS: Twenty-six (5%) of the 550 employees who participated in a weight management program as part of the Steps to Health study. MEASURES: A trained moderator guided the audio-recorded focus groups. ANALYSIS: Transcripts were analyzed using the directed content analysis approach. RESULTS: Participants faced numerous barriers to engagement in workplace weight management programs, both within and outside the workplace. Participants viewed the coaches positively and reported that the coaches had a strong influence on their engagement in the program. Participants suggested increased frequency and variety of contact by coaches, on-site group exercise classes, and tailored educational materials. CONCLUSION: Workplace weight management programs may be improved by being more flexible around participants' schedules and changing needs, by increasing access to affordable, convenient exercise facilities, and by implementing institutional changes that encourage healthy eating and physical activity during the workday. Employers should measure program engagement and solicit participant feedback to ensure that the programs are appropriate and delivered in an optimal manner.
Clancy, SM; Stroo, M; Schoenfisch, A; Dabrera, T; Østbye, T
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