Recipients' and providers' perspectives of obesity and potential barriers to weight management programmes in patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): A qualitative study

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Background: The UK rheumatology community serves an ageing and ethnically diverse population, with a growing public health concern about obesity. Overweight and obesity contribute to 2.8 million preventable deaths annually. A raised Body Mass Index (BMI) in those with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) can have a significant negative impact on clinical outcomes. The aim of the study was to examine patients' and providers' perceptions of obesity and potential barriers to participation in a future weight management programme to contribute to an appropriate intervention design. Method: Qualitative semi-structured interviews were carried out with 11 patients with RA and one focus group was held with 8 members of a multi-disciplinary team working in one Rheumatology outpatient clinic. Framework analysis (FA) contributed to the inductive thematic analysis, and was employed to assist with the identification of the emergent codes and final themes. Results: Three core themes were ascertained from the semi-structured interviews: i) The psychosocial impact of living with RA and obesity, ii) Challenges of living with RA and obesity and iii) Considerations for future weight management programmes. The Focus group analysis also identified three core themes: i) Micro-dynamics between patient and provider, ii) The relationship between the provider and the host institution in relation to the development of a future weight management programme and iii) The social and political context of obesity as a public health concern. Conclusion: Perceptions of obesity and weight gain and associated barriers to participating in weight management programmes, differ significantly between patients and providers. Patients, require a holistic approach to weight management by clinicians and the acknowledgement of the significant psychosocial impact of a dual diagnosis of RA and being overweight or obese. In contrast, providers seem reluctant to address weight increase with patients and require education and support at an individual and institutional level to integrate weight management into routine care.




Colligan, G., Galloway, J., & Lempp, H. (2017). Recipients’ and providers’ perspectives of obesity and potential barriers to weight management programmes in patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): A qualitative study. BMC Obesity, 4(1).

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