A cross-sectional study to investigate public perceptions of obesity and attitudes towards treatment options and their effectiveness
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Background- Levels of obesity are increasing, and research has suggested that patients have conflicting views and knowledge on obesity and the weight loss treatments available on the National Health Service. Additionally, there are limited studies that have investigated the public’s understanding of weight loss treatments. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to investigate the publics’ views on obesity and the treatments available on the National Health Service. Methods- The research consisted of a cross-sectional study. Data was collected using a self-administered questionnaire for ages 18-70+, in order to collect quantitative data to analyse the participant’s responses. Results- The majority of participants overestimated the percentage of the population that were obese (n=33, 70%). Furthermore, participants were aware of the causes of obesity, stating the most common as being due to a bad diet (n=41, 87%). However, the majority of participants were unaware of all the treatment options available to them, including what they do and the side effects. There were little differences identified between the different age groups and gender, however the study discovered that women feel they want to see a dietitian for weight loss advice more regularly than men (p=0.010). Conclusion- The study demonstrated that the public understand the causes of obesity with regards to them being lifestyle choices, however they were unsure of the severity of the effects of being obese. Furthermore, participants were not aware of all the treatment options available to them, and did not understand the range of side effects associated with the different treatments.
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