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Int Q Community Health Educ. 2008-2009;29(2):143-59. doi: 10.2190/IQ.29.2.d.

Barriers to weight management among Emirati women: a qualitative investigation of health professionals' perspectives.

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College of Food and Agriculture, United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, UAE.


Obesity and associated chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes are highly prevalent in the United Arab Emirates. This qualitative study explored weight management barriers for Emirati women and strategies that can facilitate their weight management efforts. In-depth individual interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 29 primary health care physicians, dietitians, and nurses in Al Ain and Abu Dhabi medical districts. A modified grounded theory was used to guide data collection and analysis. Interview notes were analyzed thematically and inductively using the NVivo software. The three main emerging themes were barriers, motivators, and suggestions. A number of personal, health care system-related, social and physical barriers to weight management were identified. Participants' suggestions to facilitate weight management for Emirati women included: health awareness programs, policies that support lifestyle changes, and provision of the necessary resources. They recommended peer support and culturally-acceptable programs that provide a holistic approach to obesity prevention and management. This study has useful applications in the development of community-based interventions for the prevention and management of overweight and obesity among women in the United Arab Emirates.

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