Weight-Related Perceptions and Experiences of Young Adult Women in Southwest Georgia

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Woodruff, R. C., Raskind, I. G., Ballard, D., Battle, G., Haardörfer, R., & Kegler, M. C. (2018). Weight-Related Perceptions and Experiences of Young Adult Women in Southwest Georgia. Health Promotion Practice, 19(1), 125–133. https://doi.org/10.1177/1524839916688868


Young adulthood is a period of pronounced weight gain, though few weight management interventions exist for this population. This qualitative study explored how young adult women feel about their weight, what kinds of weight-related advice they have received, and concerns about future weight gain to inform the adaptation of a weight gain prevention intervention. Forty women completed semistructured, in-depth interviews, which were digitally recorded, transcribed verbatim, coded, and analyzed using thematic analysis. Participants were women aged 20 to 29 years, primarily overweight (12.5%) or obese (55.0%), and African American (65.0%). Participants expressed dissatisfaction with their current weight and reported receiving advice to lose weight from multiple sources. Direct, health-focused advice from health care professionals tended to be received more positively than indirect, appearance-focused advice from family members and romantic partners. Participants expressed concern about future weight gain, either as a result of a family history of obesity or chronic disease, pregnancy, and child-rearing, or unhealthy lifestyle patterns. Future weight gain was anticipated to impact chronic disease risk, changes in physical appearance, and interference with daily activities. Results suggest that young adult women may be receptive to participating in weight management interventions and that health care systems may be strategic implementation partners.