Dietitians' perspectives on patient barriers and enablers to weight management: An application of the social‐ecological model
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AIM: Dietitians are nutrition experts who conduct nutrition assessments and provide support to patients seeking to manage their weight. The aim of the present study was to assess dietitians' perspectives on the barriers and enablers encountered by patients during their weight management journey. METHODS: Fourteen individual semi-structured interviews were conducted over a 3-month period in 2017 with dietitians working in Ontario, Canada. All interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Two researchers coded the data independently using a directed content analysis approach. RESULTS: Emerging themes were classified at societal, community, relationship, individual levels of the social-ecological model (SEM). Barriers included low socioeconomic status, 'go big or go home approach', lack of knowledge and cooking skills, lack of time, emotional eating, unsupportive home and work environments, discrimination and weight bias, lack of communication between health professionals, and low accessibility to healthy foods. Enablers included community programs, workplaces promoting healthy behaviours, and ongoing clinical support. Dietitians mentioned that patients encounter many barriers that may coexist and hinder weight management and/or maintenance of lost weight. CONCLUSIONS: Communication between health team members and ongoing patient support in the clinical setting are required. A whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach is needed to target the various aforementioned barriers at various level of the SEM.
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