Recruiting men to weight loss programs is notoriously difficult and little is known about the experiences of men who participate in weight loss programs. The aims of this paper were to report the perceptions and experiences of men who enrolled in the SHED-IT (Self-Help, Exercise, Diet and Information Technology) randomized controlled trial in the context of (1) what attracted them to the program, (2) their satisfaction with the program and its components, and (3) their suggestions for improvements to the program. The SHED-IT program exclusively targeted men and was developed to appeal to men. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with 18 overweight/obese (BMI between 25 and 37 kg/m²) men aged 18–60 years who were employed or enrolled at the University of Newcastle and who had been enrolled to the SHED-IT trial and randomly allocated to receive either the Internet intervention or basic weight-loss Information Only. Significant weight loss was achieved by both groups. A thematic analysis was undertaken applying the constant comparison method. Results indicated that lack of knowledge was a major weight loss barrier and men were attracted to a program that did not require extensive time commitments, was tailored for men and allowed inclusion of ‘treat’ food and drinks. Men were satisfied with both programs and valued the education about energy balance and the humour used to deliver simple messages. More face-to-face contact was a common suggestion for improvement. Our findings will inform future weight loss interventions for men and assist researchers and practitioners to engage men in weight loss.
Obesity Research and Clinical Practice Vol. 5, Issue 3, p. e239-e248