The health perspectives of overweight Iranian women :a focus group approach
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The purpose of this study was to describe health definitions, strategies, attitudes, benefits, barriers, and suggested solutions to weight loss from· the perspective of overweight Iranian women. Of interest also was to get women's feedback on the value of focus group techniques in gathering information from this group. Participants were 18 Iranian women between the ages of 21-49 years old, who lived in the urban area of Tehran, having a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or greater. Considerations of health for the participants included, physical appearance, feelings about life, and healthy habits. Health was related to specific experiences in life which were either due to external situations or internal forces. The results displayed the influence of the daily life activities which are culturally and religiously defined. In relation to weight control practices, diet and exercise were prevalent, showing an interest in short term weight loss strategies. The importance of family and friends as positive influences to weight loss were expressed. Improving physical appearance, seen as a benefit of attaining weight loss was a recurring theme that came up in different contexts. This seems to differ from what the society tries to promote when minimizing the value of physical appearance. Other religious beliefs were strongly voiced in women's emphasis on having a strong "will power" and selfdiscipline as requirements to lose weight. Women overall were positive about the use of focus group discussions. These insights into women's health perceptions and attitudes toward weight loss appear to be useful when nutritionists address health and weight related issues.
- Masters Theses