This study describes women's perceptions of the supports and barriers to maintaining a healthy weight among currently healthy weight women from urban and rural socio-economically disadvantaged areas. Using focus groups and interviews, we asked women about their experiences of maintaining a healthy weight. Overwhelmingly, women described their healthy weight practices in terms of concepts related to work and management. The theme of ‘managing health’ comprised issues of managing multiple responsibilities, time, and emotions associated with healthy practices. Rural women faced particular difficulties in accessing supports at a practical level (for example, lack of childcare) and due to the gendered roles they enacted in caring for others. Family background (in particular, mothers’ attitudes to food and weight) also appeared to influence perceptions about healthy weight maintenance. In the context of global increases in the prevalence of obesity, the value of initiatives aimed at supporting healthy weight women to maintain their weight should not be under-estimated. Such initiatives need to work within the social and personal constraints that women face in maintaining good health.
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