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Publication Detail
Development of a Theory and Evidence-based Public Health Weight Management Intervention for Female University Students in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Saudi female university students are particularly vulnerable to weight gain, with 48% of this population being overweight or having obesity, contributing to non-communicable diseases. To address this public health issue, my current research aimed to develop a weight management intervention based on the Behaviour Change Wheel (BCW) framework, targeting female university students who are overweight in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), using a theoretically-driven systematic approach. The research comprised five stages. First, I conducted a systematic review to identify effective weight management interventions for female university students, including successful behaviour change techniques (BCTs) and programme lengths. Effective weight management interventions used a combination of interventions with the support of particular BCTs and lasted 12+ weeks. Stage two involved conducting focus group discussions with 18 female university students to identify barriers and facilitators to healthy eating, physical activity and attending a weight management programme. The Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) and the BCW were used to identify additional BCTs to incorporate into the programme. Findings pointed to multiple personal, social, and environmental factors influencing weight management, including several specific culture of KSA, such as food and hospitality norms. In Stage three, these findings were combined with existing evidence to inform the design of the weight management programme entitled Better Healthy Lifestyle (BHL). Stage four involved conducting a feasibility study with 15 female, overweight university students. The programme included 12 sessions focusing on nutrition and physical activity education and specific BCTs to promote weight loss. Overall, the study was feasible, but it highlighted the need to assess target behaviours and acceptability. Finally, I interviewed 14 feasibility study participants to explore the effects of the BHL programme. Participants reported experiencing significant changes in self-perception and self-belief that facilitated behaviour change maintenance post-intervention and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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