Background

Modifying behavior is critical any weight loss intervention, however there is limited data on barriers facing an employed population.It is important to understand the self-reported barriers and perspectives of adults who are overweight or obese. The data on health barriers can inform the development of new health promotion, education, and intervention efforts.

Methods

The aim of this study was to examine barriers for modifying behavior among employed individuals who are overweight or obese and identify ideas for health education and coaching intervention.A retrospective analysis was performed using patient-reported data collected during a digital health coaching weight management program.Participants (n=3326) were all over 18 years old and were employed for wages or covered under employer benefits.Participants were asked to rank issues (1=Not an Issue to 5=A Very Big Issue) across the health domains of Access to Care, Eating Healthy, Exercise, Financial, and Medication Adherence.Each domain was composed of between 5-10 individual items.

Results

Two domains (Eating Healthy and Exercise) received the highest barrier scores with Financial, Medication Adherence, and Access to Care closing out the ranking.The largest barriers related to the Eating Healthy domain were Access to Unhealthy Foods and Eating Too Much and in the Exercise domain were Lack of Time and Lack of Motivation.Certain barriers such as Lack of Knowledge, Lack of Resources, and Food Preference were not seen as major barriers to modifying behavior.The top barrier for each additional domain included Unexpected Medical Costs (Finance), Lack of Time (Access), Sometimes Forget (Medication).

Conclusions

Armed with more information an employer can better identify the critical intervention components that overcome the key behavior barriers and allocate their resources accordingly.Identifying elements within the interconnected health behavior domains may improve the ability to help patients engage in modifying behavior.