Perceived Barriers to Weight Loss: A Qualitative Study of the Lived Experiences of Women with Obesity in Shiraz

  • Mohadese Borazjani Student Research Committee, School of Nutrition and Food Sciences, University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.
  • Maryam Amini Department of Nutrition Research, School of Nutrition Sciences and Food Technology, National Nutrition & Food Technology Research Institute, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences Tehran, Iran.
  • Shiva Faghih Department of Community Nutrition, School of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.
Keywords: Obese; Weight-loss; Perceived barriers; Women


Background: Obesity is a public health issue, leading to many medical and socially unacceptable complications. To combat obesity, going on a diet is a routine prescription by dieticians. Although men and women with obesity are equally advised to lose their body weight, almost in all societies women are more adhered to their prescribed diets. However, some of weight reducing diets seems neither effective nor long lasting.  This study aimed to assess perceived barriers to weight-loss programs among women with obesity in Shiraz. Methods: This qualitative study was conducted in 2017 in Shiraz. To fulfill the objectives of the study, eight semi-structured focus group discussions (FGDs) and seven in-depth interviews with key informants were performed. The eligible participants for FGDs were women with obesity who were not satisfied with their diet and were selected through a public call in Shiraz. Results: A total of 1429 initial codes were obtained from FGDs, and after categorizing, four main barriers were resulted. Dietary, socio-cultural, supportive- psychological, and economic issues were identified as the main perceived barriers to weight-loss programs. Conclusion: The study findings provided comprehensive information about the probable causes of diet prescriptions failure, which can assist dietitians to improve the efficacy of their weight management advice in clinics.