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Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2013 Apr;23(4):337-43. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2011.12.008. Epub 2012 Apr 11.

Multidisciplinary lifestyle intervention in the obese: its impact on patients' perception of the disease, food and physical exercise.

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Healthy Lifestyle Institute, (C.U.R.I.A.MO.: Centro Universitario di Ricerca Interdipartimentale Attività Motoria), University of Perugia, CURIAMO, Via G. Bambagioni 19, 06126 Perugia, Italy.



To be successful, lifestyle intervention in obesity must take into account patients' views. The aim of the present study, conducted using a narrative-autobiographical approach, was to report on the perception of disease, food and physical exercise in a group of 80 obese patients during a structured multidisciplinary lifestyle intervention.


Patients underwent lifestyle intervention, of three months' duration, structured in the following steps: 1) an initial medical examination; 2) an interview by a psychologist; 3) an assessment by a dietician, 4) a physical examination by a specialist in sports medicine; 5) an individualized program consisting of 24 sessions (two per week) of structured indoor exercise 6) eight sessions of group therapeutic education; 7) Nordic walking activity combined with walking excursions during weekends. All the narrative autobiographic texts obtained during the lifestyle intervention were submitted for content analysis; data were analysed according to the ''grounded theory'' method. According to patients' descriptions at the end of the intervention, lifestyle intervention resulted in enhanced self-efficacy and a reduction in their dependency on food and people; their fear of change was also diminished because, by undergoing intervention, they had experienced change.


The findings made in the present qualitative analysis suggest that whenever multidisciplinary lifestyle intervention is planned for patients with obesity, it is of the utmost importance to tailor the approach while taking the following key aspects into account: motivation, barriers and/or facilitators in lifestyle change, patients' perceptions of obesity and relationship with food, diet and exercise.

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