Beliefs about causes of weight gain, effective weight gain prevention strategies, and barriers to weight management in the Australian population

Mary Dryer, Nicole Ware

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Purpose: To identify beliefs held by the general public regarding causes of weight gain, weight prevention strategies, and barriers to weight management; and to examine whether such beliefs predict the actual body mass of participants. Methods: A questionnaire-based survey was administered to participants recruited from regional and metropolitan areas of Australia. This questionnaire obtained demographic information, height, weight; as well as beliefs about causes of weight gain, weight prevention strategies, and barriers to weight management. Results: The sample consisted of 376 participants (94 males, 282 females) between the ages of 18 years and 88 years (mean age = 43.25, SD = 13.64). The range and nature of the belief dimensions identified suggest that the Australian public have an understanding of the interaction between internal and external factors that impact on weight gain but also prevent successful weight management. Beliefs about prevention strategies and barriers to effective weight management were found to predict the participants' actual body mass, even after controlling for demographic characteristics. Conclusions: The general public have a good understanding of the multiple contributing factors to weight gain and successful weight management. However, this understanding may not necessarily lead to individuals adopting the required lifestyle changes that result in achievement or maintenance of healthy weight levels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-81
Number of pages16
JournalHealth Psychology and Behavioral Medicine
Volume2
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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