BACKGROUND: In the UK, men’s health is a concern due to men’s poor engagement with traditional health services and weight management programmes. This has resulted in men being labelled as hard-to-reach. International guidance for men’s health recommends the need to establish male specific weight management programmes. Due to the poor health profile and unsuitability of existing provision for men in Wigan, UK, a bespoke men’s weight management service, ‘Trim Down Shape Up’ (TDSU) was commissioned. TDSU is a programme of physical activity and nutritional advice for overweight or obese men that aims to help participants lose 5% of their bodyweight over 12 weekly sessions.
PURPOSE: To explore overweight and obese men’s motivations for joining the TDSU programme and the psycho-social outcomes of engaging in TDSU.
METHODS: Ten in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with a representative sample of programme participants. Using existing methodologies, interview questions were designed to explore (a) participant’s physical activity and health related behaviours prior to joining TDSU; (b) their motivations for joining the TDSU programme and (c) their psycho-social experiences of engaging in TDSU. Interviews were digitally recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using a thematic analysis framework.
RESULTS: Lack of motivation and/or time were identified as the major barriers to engagement in regular physical activity and positive health related behaviours prior to engaging in TDSU. Psychosocial motivations for joining TDSU emerged, and key design characteristics of the TDSU programme such as location, activities and a male specific environment were identified as significant influencing factors. The impact of regular engagement in TDSU is identified, namely; improvements in physical health, diet, psychological health and social wellbeing.
CONCLUSION: In this bespoke men’s weight management service, shaping the intervention around men’s needs helped to facilitate adoption and subsequent opportunity to experience psycho-social benefits. Further research is needed to explore the experiences of some sub-groups that still remain unreached by the programme.