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Thesis

A Study of Online Bariatric Support Groups and Their Participants

13 April 2010

Abstract

Obesity affects physical and psychological health and impacts society (Ogden et al., 2006). Internet bariatric support groups may help in weight loss and are largely unexplored (Wing & Hill, 2001). This pilot study aimed at describing such groups. Twenty two members of internet bariatric support groups completed a survey. Information on demographics, weight loss, support group and psychological comorbidities was gathered. Quality of life (QOL) was measured using the World Health Organization Quality of Life Index (WHOQOL group, 1996). Results indicate differences in QOL and psychological co-morbidities by age, gender, experience with weight loss and surgery and group structure. Larger samples are suggested to explore these trends further. Results may guide recommendations for participation in online bariatric support groups.


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