Table 4

Key Features of General Explanatory Model of Being Overweight in Relation to Standard Care and a Commercial Weight Loss Program

Explanatory ModelStandard CareCommercial Program
Overweight not regarded as a disease needing medical treatmentBased in local physician’s practice
Delivered by health care professionals
Based in various (nonmedical) community venues
Delivered by community members who have lost weight with commercial provider
Need motivation and support for weight loss, rather than informationHealth care professionals varied widely in their interest in weight loss and their ability to support and motivate
Care primarily participant led
Key role of leader is to motivate the group
Most participants experience the group environment as supportive, though not suitable for all
Frequent contact and accountability neededMeetings arranged in advance by participants
Appointments need not be at a regular time or day but must be on weekdays during “office hours”
Can be difficult to get an appointment
Weekly meetings held in accessible community venues
Local meetings at a variety of set days and times
Participants can drop in
Cannot be treated or cured. Weight regain likelyOn-going support possible, but would require specific additional care provisionWeight management is viewed as on-going process and continued provision offered
Continued provision would require self-payment or further payment by primary care provider
Members who have reached their goal weight can attend free of charge