Tagged / Gender

Management of male obesity: The qualitative evidence (BMJ Open)

BMJ Open 2015Yesterday BMJ Open published our latest article on the weight management in obese men, under the title A qualitative evidence synthesis on the management of male obesity.[1]  To the best of our knowledge, this is the first synthesis of qualitative studies investigating men’s perceptions and experiences of weight management services.  The interdisciplinary study was conducted between the three research centres at the University of Aberdeen, namely the Health Services Research Unit (HSRU), the Health Economics Research Unit (HERU) and the Rowett Institute of Health & Nutrition, the University of Stirling’s NMAHP Research Unit, the University of Edinburgh’s Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research & Policy (SCPHRP) and Bournemouth University.

Studies published between 1990 and 2012 reporting qualitative research with obese men, or obese men in contrast to obese women and lifestyle or drug weight management were included. The studies included men aged 16 years or over, with no upper age limit, with a mean or median body mass index of 30 kg/m2 in all settings. In total 22 studies were identified.

Health concerns and the perception that certain programmes had ‘worked’ for other men were the key factors that motivated men to engage with weight management programmes. Barriers to engagement and adherence with programmes included: men not problematizing their weight until labelled ‘obese’; a lack of support for new food choices by friends and family, and reluctance to undertake extreme dieting. Retaining some autonomy over what is eaten; flexibility about treats and alcohol, and a focus on physical activity were attractive features of programmes. Group interventions, humour and social support facilitated attendance and adherence. Men were motivated to attend programmes in settings that were convenient, non-threatening and congruent with their masculine identities, but men were seldom involved in programme design.

The paper concluded that men’s perspectives and preferences within the wider context of family, work and pleasure should be sought when designing weight management services. Qualitative research is needed with men to inform all aspects of intervention design, including the setting, optimal recruitment processes and strategies to minimise attrition.  This paper grew out of the larger ROMEO study which was published in our full HTA (Health Technology Assessment) report, which is also freely available on line, click here! [2]

 

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

CMMPH

 

Reference:

  1. Archibald, D., Douglas, F., Hoddinott, P., van Teijlingen, E., Stewart, F., Robertson, C., Boyers, D., Avenell, A. (2015) A qualitative evidence synthesis on the management of male obesity. BMJ Open 5: e008372. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-008372 http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/5/10/e008372.full.pdf+html
  2. Robertson, C., Archibald, D., Avenell, A., Douglas, F., Hoddinott, P., van Teijlingen, E., Boyers, D., Stewart, F., Boachie, C., Fioratou, E., Wilkins, D., Street, T., Carroll, P., Fowler, C. (2014) Systematic reviews of & integrated report on the quantitative, qualitative & economic evidence base for the management of obesity in men. Health Technology Assessment 18(35): 1-424.  http://www.journalslibrary.nihr.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/118180/FullReport-hta18350.pdf

Changing diet and exercise, offering men-only groups, and humour may be the recipe for tackling male obesity

Fewer men join weight loss programmes but are more likely than women to stick with them, according to analysis of international obesity studies by researchers from the Universities of Aberdeen, Bournemouth and Stirling.

Men also prefer the use of simple ‘business-like’ language, welcome humour used sensitively, and benefit from the moral support of other men in strategies to tackle obesity. The researchers suggest that obese men might be helped better if weight loss programmes were specifically designed for men.

Researchers from the Universities of Aberdeen, Bournemouth and Stirling analysed evidence from around the world, gathered from weight loss trials and studies that have also taken men’s views. The team particularly investigated what would make services more appealing for men.

From their systematic review (see: http://www.journalslibrary.nihr.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/118180/FullReport-hta18350.pdf ) of the evidence on obesity management published by the NHS National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment Programme, researchers also found:

 

  • Cutting calories together with exercise and following advice on changing behaviour are the best way for obese men to shed pounds. This can also help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and can help improve erectile dysfunction for some men.
  • Obese men who eat less lose more weight than those who take more exercise but don’t eat less.
  • In the long term, one calorie-reducing diet has not yet been found to better than another for weight loss for men.
  • Middle-aged men are motivated to lose weight once they perceive they have a health problem they want to tackle.
  • A desire to improve personal appearance without looking too thin is also a motivator for weight loss in men.
  • Men are likely to prefer weight-loss programmes delivered by the NHS rather than those run commercially.
  • Group-based weight management programmes run only for men provide moral support.
  • Obesity interventions in sports clubs, such as football clubs, have been very effective, with low dropout rates and very positive responses from men.

 

Chief investigator Professor Alison Avenell, based at the University of Aberdeen, said: “More men than women are overweight or obese in the UK, but men are less likely to see their weight as a problem and engage with weight-loss services, even though obesity increases the risk of many serious illnesses such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and osteoarthritis. This could be because dieting and weight-loss programmes are perceived as being feminine activities.”

“We looked at the outcomes of obesity management trials and interventions as well as interviews with men in order to find out more about how to design services and inform health policy. While more research is needed into the effectiveness of new approaches to engage men with weight-loss, our findings suggest that men should be offered the opportunity to attend weight loss programmes that are different to programmes which are mainly attended by women.”

 

Dr Flora Douglas, from the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, said: “Men prefer more factual information on how to lose weight and more emphasis on physical activity in weight loss programmes. Interventions delivered in social settings were preferred to those delivered in health-care settings.   Group-based programmes showed benefits by facilitating support for men with similar health problems, and some individual tailoring of advice helped men.  Programmes which were situated in a sporting venue, where participants had a strong sense of affiliation, showed low drop-out rates and high satisfaction.”

University of Stirling Professor Pat Hoddinott said: “Men are much less likely to enrol in commercial weight loss schemes. Some men preferred weight loss programmes delivered in an NHS context. The difference between weight loss for men from NHS and commercial programmes is presently unclear”.

 

Professor Edwin van Teijlingen from Bournemouth University added: “This research project has benefited throughout from the input and insights offered by the Men’s Health Forum in Ireland, the Men’s Health Forum Scotland and the Men’s Health Forum England and Wales.”

This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research, Health Technology Assessment Programme (NIHR HTA Project 09/127/01; Systematic reviews of and integrated report on the quantitative, qualitative and economic evidence base for the management of obesity in men http://www.nets.nihr.ac.uk/projects/hta/0912701).  The views and opinions expressed therein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Health.

 

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

CMMPH

 

Another Santander award…

Another recent beneficiary of the current round of BU Graduate School Santander Mobility Awards is Higher Education Academy (HEA) funded PhD student David Galley. His study has attracted funding of £1000 allowing him to travel on fieldwork to other universities around the UK, seeking the perceptions of male social work students on their journeys through qualifying programmes.
The PhD thesis research of David Galley is based on male student’s perceptions of the lack of male practitioners in social work practice in the UK, why those males who undertake qualifying degrees enter the profession, and what their experiences are of what has been described as ‘pedagogically feminised’ programmes. His mixed-methods study will examine current and established perceptions which may inform future social work curricula. His research is supervised by Prof Jonathan Parker and Dr Sara Ashencaen Crabtree who have both researched and published in this area.

EU Funding for Women in Media

The European Institute for Gender Equality invites proposals for a study on area J of the Beijing platform for action, which addresses women and media in the EU.

The tenderer will conduct a study on women’s participation and access to expression and decision-making in media, with an emphasis on women’s presence in the decision-making bodies within media companies, the extent to which media companies have developed codes of conduct and other forms of self-regulation to obviate discrimination on the grounds of sex, as well as the monitoring of women’s and men’s presence in media content, excluding films and commercials.

Funding is worth approximately €400,000 over 11 months and the deadline is April 24th.

New EU research finds video games can be good for you

It appears that blasting aliens to smithereens, rescuing the princess for the 256th time or pretending you’re Lara Croft  may not be so bad after all. New research led by scientists at the University of Essex  in cooperation with colleagues in Germany and the United States, looked at why people find video games fun.

The study investigated the idea that many people enjoy playing videogames because it gives them the chance to ‘try on’ characteristics which they would like to have as their ideal self. ‘A game can be more fun when you get the chance to act and be like your ideal self,’ explains Dr Andy Przybylski, who led the study. ‘The attraction to playing videogames and what makes them fun is that it gives people the chance to think about a role they would ideally like to take and then get a chance to play that role.’

The research found that giving players the chance to adopt a new identity during a game and acting through that new identity – be it a different gender, hero, villain – made them feel better about themselves and less negative. In fact, the enjoyment element of the videogames seemed to be greater when there was the least overlap between someone’s actual self and their ideal self. The study involved hundreds of casual game players in the laboratory and studied nearly a thousand dedicated gamers who played everything from ‘The Sims’ and ‘Call of Duty’ to ‘World of Warcraft’. Players were asked how they felt after playing in relation to the attributes or characteristics of the persona they would ideally like to be.