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Gesundheitswesen. 2015 Nov;77(11):888-94. doi: 10.1055/s-0034-1384564. Epub 2014 Aug 11.

[Which Factors Affect Weight Maintenance? A Qualitative Study with Adolescents and their Parents who have Completed a Ten-months Intervention].

[Article in German]

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Fachbereich Pflege und Gesundheit, Hochschule Fulda, Fulda.
Institut für Biometrie und klinische Epidemiologie, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin.
Institut für Experimentelle Pädiatrische Endokrinologie, Interdisziplinäres Sozialpädiatrisches Zentrum (SPZ), Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin.



The alarming increase in the prevalence of childhood obesity is recognised as a major public health concern. Currently, structured multi-modal therapy programmes present the gold standard of therapy strategies for obese children and adolescents. However, effects of these treatments are still a matter of discussion. Failure to isolate and understand the external and internal factors contributing to successful, long-term weight reduction may well be contributing to the ineffectiveness of current treatment interventions.


A qualitative approach was chosen in order to identify subjectively perceived resources and barriers to weight maintenance after previous weight reduction. The research question focused on how these resources and barriers affect success of participants. Additionally the question arose as to how and to what extent parents should and could be involved in the therapy process. The results can deliver important starting points for the development of therapy programmes and future research.


7 participants of a weight reduction and maintenance programme and 7 of their parents were interviewed on their personal experiences during and after the treatment. The interviews were analysed based on the qualitative content analysis.


Continuous motivation, especially after the initial weight reduction phase, was identified as the strongest predictor of successful weight maintenance. Successful weight maintainers generally showed characteristics of higher self-efficacy, internal motivation concerning physical activity and flexible self-control concerning food intake. Unsuccessful weight gainers stated a lack of motivation concerning physical activity and lost control over their eating habits. Concerning the role of parents in the therapy process, the results show that higher parental involvement does not predict greater success. The general relationship between parents and their children seems to be more significant, especially concerning the issues of responsibility.


It is disputable to what extent the post treatment intervention contributed to the development of intrinsic motivation. More attention should be paid to the age (children or adolescents) of participants of therapy programmes, especially concerning the involvement of parents. It is assumed that general aspects of education should be discussed with parents.

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