© 2016 Isla Pera et al. Aim: We aimed to explore the meaning of obesity in elderly persons with knee osteoarthritis (KO) and to determine the factors that encourage or discourage weight loss. Background: Various studies have demonstrated that body mass index is related to KO and that weight loss improves symptoms and functional capacity. However, dietary habits are difficult to modify and most education programs are ineffective. Design: A phenomenological qualitative study was conducted. Intentional sampling was performed in ten older persons with KO who had lost weight and improved their health-related quality of life after participating in a health education program. A thematic content analysis was conducted following the stages proposed by Miles and Huberman. Findings: Participants understood obesity as a risk factor for health problems and stigma. They believed that the cause of obesity was multifactorial and criticized health professionals for labeling them as “obese” and for assigning a moral value to slimness and diet. The factors identified as contributing to the effectiveness of the program were a tolerant attitude among health professionals, group education that encouraged motivation, quantitative dietary recommendations, and a meaningful learning model based on social learning theories. Conclusion: Dietary self-management without prohibitions helped participants to make changes in the quantity and timing of some food intake and to lose weight without sacrificing some foods that were deeply rooted in their culture and preferences. Dietary education programs should focus on health-related quality of life and include scientific knowledge but should also consider affective factors and the problems perceived as priorities by patients.
- Knee osteoarthritis
- Therapeutic education