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Weight Loss Services for Men

Professor Brendan Gough

Professor Brendan Gough is an expert in qualitative research methods with research interests in Lifestyles, Gender, Masculinity and Mental Wellbeing and a strong track record in effective project management.

Brendan has carried out research and published papers on gender identities and relations, mostly on Health and Wellbeing (weight, alcohol consumption, smoking, diet, and aspects of men's health). His work enables commissioners and providers in Health Care, Local Government and specialist voluntary sector bodies, as well as businesses and enterprises to have a greater insight into people’s behaviours – particularly around masculinity and lifestyles challenges – and thus to shape more effective solutions.

Funded by NHS Nottingham City (2012-13), this project focused on overweight and obese men who were attempting to lose weight through a new male-targeted service (‘Motivate’) as well as those men on a more conventional programme (Slimming World). Given the rising numbers of obese men, and the reluctance of men to access and engage with weight management services, it is important to gain insights into men’s experiences and evaluations of service provision.

The work was primarily interview-based and involved talking to men on Motivate and Slimming World, with data analysis on weight and lifestyle practices before, during and after programme completion.

Interviews were also conducted with overweight and obese men not recruited to any programme.

To date the outcomes have found that:

  • Most men lose weight on the new Motivate programme and on the Slimming World programme.
  • Men value the exercise dimension to the Motivate programme, as well as the social/group aspects.
  • Weight loss has proved transformative for many men – with self-reported increases in confidence, physical capacities and wellbeing.
  • Men care about their body image and enjoy looking slimmer.

These preliminary findings have been presented at conferences (e.g. BPS Annual conference, April, 2013; International Society for Critical Health Psychology conference, July, 2013), with journal articles to follow.

The research findings were also presented at an NHS dissemination event in Nottingham in June 2013, with health professionals, public health service commissioners and providers and members of the public present.