Hvorfor lykkes noen med livsstilsendring? - En kvalitativ studie av tidligere deltagere i Vend-Risk
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Background: Lifestyle interventions to reduce risk of illness related to overweight and obesity, have had limited success. Only a few of those participating in lifestyle interventions are able to maintain changes and keep their weight loss stable over time. Aim: This thesis seeks to investigate what factors have been crucial to help former participants in the «Vend-Risk» study maintain the lifestyle changes they started with (during their time with Vend-Risk) - a study designed to achieve permanent lifestyle changes in regards to diet and activity habits, promoting health and preventing development of illnesses. Method: To answer the thesis question, a qualitative method was used. Eight semi-structured, in-depth interviews were carried out on participants, who were part of the Vend-Risk program between 2010 and 2015, and who had been without guidance for two years when the interviews started. The method of systematic text condensation (STC) developed my Kirsti Malterud, was used for analysis. Results: The informants explained that they experienced a turning point before starting the Vend-Risk program, and that this helped motivate them. This turning point was largely related to the fear of developing illnesses related to obesity, such as type 2 diabetes, something every participant was in danger of developing. My research also shows that the informants embraced the biopedagogical messages involved in the study, meaning messages stated by the study’s team about how to perform lifestyle changes. This led to the participants beginning to self-monitor their food intake and physical activity. Their perspective on health and body images also changed. Combined, this gave them the coping strategies to attain a permanent lifestyle change. In the time after the Vend-Risk program, the informants have had to work systematically to maintain the changes they have made. In addition, relations between the participants of the study, relationships with the study’s team and family members, as well as with friends, were communicated to be important to achieve a successful lifestyle change. Conclusion: My study suggests that those who are successful in the Vend-Risk program, developed increased self-monitoring, making them able to maintain the lifestyle changes and weight loss over time. My findings also suggest that relational and social aspects influenced the outcome of their lifestyle treatment in various ways. Health services should therefore not understand and treat obesity just as an individual condition, because relational aspects, as well as cultural predispositions on overweight and obesity, can influence whether patients are successful in permanent lifestyle changes. Relevance: This thesis contributes with knowledge about why some patients are successful in permanent lifestyle changes and weight loss. It also sheds some light on how sociological and health scientific perspectives can complete each other and provide increased understanding in regards to treatment of patients with obesity.