Searchable abstracts of presentations at key conferences in endocrinology
Endocrine Abstracts (2010) 21 P94

Clinical practice/governance and case reports

An evaluation of the knowledge, motivation and weight-management service needs of obese young people

Marc Williams1, Deborah Kendall2, Helena Gleeson2, Rakesh Amin2, Indi Banerjee2, Sarah Ehtisham2, Leena Patel2, Peter Clayton2,3 & Catherine Hall2


1University of Manchester Medical School, Manchester, UK; 2Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Manchester, UK; 3University of Manchester, Manchester, UK.


Background: Obese young people are likely to suffer significant morbidity in adult life. Successful intervention during adolescence may have far-reaching benefits. Evidence is emerging that patient-responsive clinical services may deliver improved outcomes.

Aims: To assess the perceptions of obese young people about weight and weight-management services.

Method: Annonymised, postal questionnaire survey of 116 obese young people (9–20 years), who had attended a clinic and/or participated in obesity research at our centre. Data was analysed using SPSS.

Results: Forty-four questionnaires were returned (38%). Respondent percentages are reported. 98, 75 and 75%, respectively, ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ that they were motivated to lose weight, change eating and exercise habits. 91, 68 and 75%, respectively, were ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to go walking, attend a gym or participate in exercise with similar young people. 51 and 47%, respectively, reported ‘always’ feeling anxious or sad about their weight. 53 and 32%, respectively, ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ that their weight affected their sports activities and social life. Perceived causes for obesity were eating habits (22%), lack of exercise (20%), family history (14%) and stress (11%). 71 and 82%, respectively, ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ that their obesity affects their current health and will affect their adult health.

Motivation to lose weight was correlated with impact on friendships and social activities (r=0.4, 0.3, respectively, P<0.05) and with impact on sports activities, sadness and anxiety about weight (r=0.5, 0.4, 0.6, respectively, P<0.01). There was no correlation between motivation and perceived impact upon health.

Young people would like to receive information from a personal trainer (59%), dietician (54%) doctor (43%), group discussion (40%). The most popular information delivery formats were leaflets (42%) and website (40%).

Conclusions: An adolescent weight-management service incorporating personal mentors, peer support and website may harness motivation more successfully than the conventional medical model.

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