Informing the development of online weight management interventions: a qualitative investigation of primary care patient perceptions

Samantha B. van Beurden (Lead / Corresponding author), Sally I. Simmons, Jason C. H. Tang, Avril J. Mewse, Charles Abraham, Colin J. Greaves

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)
    187 Downloads (Pure)


    Background: The internet is a potentially promising medium for delivering weight loss interventions. The current study sought to explore factors that might influence primary care patients’ initial uptake and continued use (up to four-weeks) of such programmes to help inform the development of novel, or refinement of existing, weight management interventions.

    Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 patients purposively sampled based on age, gender and BMI from a single rural general practice. The interviews were conducted 4 weeks after recruitment at the general practice and focused on experiences with using one of three freely available weight loss websites. Thematic Analysis was used to analyse the data.

    Results: Findings suggested that patients were initially motivated to engage with internet-based weight loss programmes by their accessibility and novelty. However, continued use was influenced by substantial facilitators and barriers, such as time and effort involved, reaction to prompts/reminders, and usefulness of information. Facilitation by face-to-face consultations with the GP was reported to be helpful in supporting change.

    Conclusions: Although primary care patients may not be ready yet to solely depend on online interventions for weight loss, their willingness to use them shows potential for use alongside face–to-face weight management advice or intervention. Recommendations to minimise barriers to engagement are provided.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number7
    Pages (from-to)1-10
    Number of pages10
    JournalBMC Obesity
    Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2018


    • E-health
    • Internet
    • Obesity
    • Primary care
    • Qualitative research
    • Weight loss

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
    • Epidemiology
    • Health Policy
    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
    • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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