(Direct quotes from YAMs are in Italics)
Many YAMs identified obesity as an issue for society, acknowledged the obese population was increasing, and identified that being overweight or obese was associated with a number of health related implications.
High cholesterol in the body…heart problems
Later down the track it could cause diabetes…
YAMs did not believe that their weight was affecting them at this stage in their lives.
I don’t find any real problems…I’ve always been bigger so it doesn’t really affect me much, but I see these people who are fairly obese and you can see them puffing and huffing.
The YAMs believed that in today’s society being overweight or obese has almost become the norm and there were even benefits associated with their build.
It actually helps me, being a bit bigger, playing footy now with a bit more weight about me it makes it a lot easier to hold my own on the park.
A couple of participants did feel their build was already having a negative impact on their life. These YAMs discussed the physical and emotional challenges they faced as a result of overweight and obesity.
…I have struggled for a fair while, it led to depression…
…I used to get bad reflux if I was over 100 kg…
A number of YAMs had tried to lose weight, and they discussed the challenges they faced in doing so.
…it did work, just watching what I eat and training a bit more, but I didn’t sustain it, it’s a lot harder to sustain. It’s easy to do, but it’s hard to do it over a long period of time.
…you work all day and the last thing you want to do at the end of the day is try and work out.
When they were younger they were involved in a number of sporting activities with their peers. As they reached late adolescence, they stopped playing sport.
…since I left school, I gave up the sports and I put more weight back on.
YAMs social activities instead centred on food and alcohol, which had a considerable impact on their weight and discussed the benefits associated with fast food, including the price and the convenience.
…it’s a social thing because you might go and hang out with your friends, and you go out for lunch, so you choose the quick and easy option, you go to Maccas or fast food…
…you don’t have to mess around, the mess is easy, just chuck it in the bin, don’t have to wash or wipe…
… I put on a fair bit of weight from just drinking…
While the YAMs identified how difficult it was for them to find the motivation to exercise and lose weight, they believed that they would be able to do this in the future if they needed to.
If I was ever to have kids and weight became an issue, if it ever hampered me to not be able to do things, like take them to the park, or I found it hard to get down and play with my kids, that’s when it would become an issue for me.
The YAMs identified a number of weight loss related advertising campaigns used by the Government in the past, such as ‘the advertisement of a guy running after his kid on a background of a measuring tape’. It was clear that they had not been successful in motivating the YAMs to make lifestyle changes at the time of the focus group discussions. However, this may have an effect in the future when they have kids themselves and are unable to keep up with their activities.
The YAMs agreed that providing incentives would help but did not agree on the most effective incentive they could be provided. The most popular option was gym membership vouchers.
I think gym membership would be good. It’s so expensive to do and it’s not like you can just fork it out, especially when you’ve got family, mortgages and that to pay out.
Cash as an incentive for weight loss may cause problems.
…if you’re going to give money out well they’re just going to get their money in their account and say “Hang on, I’ve got more money. Why don’t I go out and buy Maccas?”
A common theme throughout the YAMs’ discussions was the difficulties associated with working alone to try and lose weight, when those around you may not be motivated to make the same lifestyle changes.
If I say, for example, to me mates come around we’ll have a barbie and have a beer and that they all come around you know, there’d be twenty odd blokes there. If I say come to the gym with me I’d be the only bastard there.
Most YAMs preferred group training programs, so that they had the support of others in a similar position as them that would help motivate them through the challenges they faced.
Personally I need other people around me to do it…because if I’m by myself well then it’s easy to say no.
Commenting on the use of text messaging in a weight loss program aimed at motivating to lose weight, most agreed that this option could be a successful component if the messages were used well and tailored to the individual.
Like a reminder. Like a kick in the butt when you’re not feeling like following your routine. I think that’s a good idea.
…it would have to be for each individual person…people are different, do different things throughout their day…
Suggestions were made for what should be included in the message content.
Even something with your target, your current weight; your average weight loss and statistics like that just to help you or encourage you to lose that bit more or keep going with how you’re going…
…something that would push me to think, why am I eating this, why am I doing that, why shouldn’t I be doing this instead?
…did you know that if you jog on the spot 20 times you might lose X amount of kilojoules…
… an apple will wake you up three times better than a cup of coffee will…
Just think, another five weeks, five kilos, $5…
YAMs thought it would be useful to hear information about local programs and opportunities that they can become involved in.
Like Dubbo whatever the group might be called is having a training session today, come down and join the team…
…advising people on local running events… when he has his boot camps on… if there’s a special on gym membership…
YAMs also commented on the text message frequency.
Once or twice a week.
When asked if they would communicate their weight loss stories to others, particularly using social networking sites, most YAMs agreed that they would. Some said they already comment about physical activities they participate in, such as attending the gym or playing sports, on their social networking sites.
I think if it was working I’d definitely go and tell my mates…I know I’ve got a couple of mates who are embarrassed about it…if it started working for me I’d say to them straight away look this is really working, why don’t you give it a go…
…you get a lot of people check in at gyms, and “Just got back from the gym”, that sort of statement of their day.
YAMs were also asked what would motivate them to be involved in a weight loss intervention study. Responses were mixed, with some YAMs believing that incentives would be a good way to motivate people to participate, and others feeling that the opportunity to lose weight was incentive enough.
Probably a cash incentive will get most people, I think. You offer to do surveys, people usually dismiss them, they’re like door knockers, but once you offer money, people start to listen.
I think the objective of it should be almost incentive enough…
The gym membership type stuff and rewards.