Reece, Lindsey J., Bissell, Paul and Copeland, Robert J. (2016) ‘I just don't want to get bullied anymore, then I can lead a normal life’; Insights into life as an obese adolescent and their views on obesity treatment. Health Expectations, 19 (4). pp. 897-907. ISSN 1369-6513

Adolescent obesity is a complex condition involving social, emotional, behavioural and cultural issues.

One-to-one interviews and small focus groups with overweight and obese young people were conducted. Qualitative research is an appropriate method to explore the complexity of this issue.

Setting and participants
Overweight and obese adolescent's attending a community weight management intervention in South Yorkshire.

Main variables studied
Interviews aimed to explore the experiences of obese adolescents and their perspectives towards obesity treatment.

Adolescent's provided detailed accounts of their perspectives on weight gain, alluding to disordered patterns of eating and overeating, reported as being triggered by social and emotional factors, and in particular, bullying. Avoidance of bullying and a desire to integrate socially with peers were key drivers to seek treatment. Young people reported what they should do to lose weight, yet responsibility for successful weight loss and lifestyle change was repeatedly attributed to the treatment received, as opposed to viewing this as a combination of self-motivation coupled with support provided by friends and family.

Weight loss programmes need to consider the complex experience of obese young people in their design, focusing on how to implement long-term lifestyle changes.

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