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Do health beliefs and behaviors differ according to severity of obesity? A qualitative study of Australian adults

Lewis, Sophie, Thomas, Samantha L., Blood, R. Warwick, Hyde, Jim, Castle, David J. and Komesaroff, Paul A. 2010, Do health beliefs and behaviors differ according to severity of obesity? A qualitative study of Australian adults, International journal of environmental research and public health, vol. 7, no. 2, Special issue : Health behaviour and public health, pp. 443-459, doi: 10.3390/ijerph7020443.

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Title Do health beliefs and behaviors differ according to severity of obesity? A qualitative study of Australian adults
Author(s) Lewis, Sophie
Thomas, Samantha L.
Blood, R. Warwick
Hyde, Jim
Castle, David J.
Komesaroff, Paul A.
Journal name International journal of environmental research and public health
Volume number 7
Issue number 2
Season Special issue : Health behaviour and public health
Start page 443
End page 459
Total pages 17
Publisher M D P I AG
Place of publication Basel, Switzerland
Publication date 2010-02
ISSN 1660-4601
1661-7827
Keyword(s) obesity
health beliefs
health behaviors
stigma
public health
qualitative research
consumer perspectives
Summary Public responses to obesity have focused on providing standardized messages and supports to all obese individuals, but there is limited understanding of the impact of these messages on obese adults. This descriptive qualitative study using in-depth interviews and a thematic method of analysis, compares the health beliefs and behaviors of 141 Australian adults with mild to moderate (BMI 30−39.9) and severe (BMI ≥ 40) obesity. Mildly obese individuals felt little need to change their health behaviors or to lose weight for health reasons. Most believed they could “lose weight” if they needed to, distanced themselves from the word obesity, and stigmatized those “fatter” than themselves. Severely obese individuals felt an urgent need to change their health behaviors, but felt powerless to do so. They blamed themselves for their weight, used stereotypical language to describe their health behaviors, and described being “at war” with their bodies. Further research, particularly about the role of stigma and stereotyping, is needed to fully understand the impact of obesity messaging on the health beliefs, behaviors, and wellbeing of obese and severely obese adults.
Notes Reproduced under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ Published material can be re-used without obtaining permission as long as a correct citation to the original publication is given. http://www.mdpi.com/about/openaccess
Language eng
DOI 10.3390/ijerph7020443
Field of Research 119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2010, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30046426

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Population Health
Open Access Collection
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.