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BMC Fam Pract. 2018 Aug 31;19(1):148. doi: 10.1186/s12875-018-0837-z.

Patient experiences of a lifestyle program for metabolic syndrome offered in family medicine clinics: a mixed methods study.

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Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, Edmonton, Canada.
Department of Family Relations & Applied Nutrition, University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada.
Department of Family Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.
Department of Kinesiology, Laval University, Quebec City, Canada.
Metabolic Syndrome Canada, Kingston, Canada.
Department of Family Medicine and Emergency Medicine, Laval University, Quebec City, Canada.
Department of Human Health & Nutritional Sciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada.
Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.



Patient perspectives on new programs to manage metabolic syndrome (MetS) are critical to evaluate for possible implementation in the primary healthcare system. Participants' perspectives were sought for the Canadian Health Advanced by Nutrition and Graded Exercise (CHANGE) study, which enrolled 293 participants, and demonstrated 19% reversal of MetS after 1 year. The main purpose of this study was to examine participants' perceptions of their experiences with the CHANGE program, enablers and barriers to change.


A convergent parallel mixed methods design combined patients' perspectives collected by questionnaires (n = 164), with insights from focus groups (n = 41) from three sites across Canada. Qualitative data were thematically analyzed using interpretative description. Insights were organized within a socio-ecologic framework.


Key aspects identified by participants included intra-individual factors (personal agency, increased time availability), inter-individual factors (trust, social aspects) and organizational factors (increased mental health support, tailored programs).


Results revealed participants' overall support for the CHANGE program, especially the importance of an extended program under the guidance of a family physician along with a skilled and supportive team. Team delivery of a lifestyle program in primary care or family medicine clinics is a complex intervention and use of a mixed methods design was helpful for exploring patient experiences and key issues on enablers and barriers to health behavior change.

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