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Development of a Weight Loss Program for Appalachian Kentucky Adults: A Formative Research Survey


  • Authors’ Note: Kelly H. Webber, PhD, RD, LD, is an Assistant Professor in the department of Nutrition and Food Science at University of Kentucky. Lisa Quintiliani, PhD, is a postdoctoral fellow at Medical Information Systems Unit, Boston Medical Center. Please address correspondence to Kelly H. Webber, Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Kentucky, 212A Funkhouser Bldg. Lexington, KY 40406-0054; e-mail:


Although obesity rates are high in Appalachian Kentucky, few interventions have been developed for this population. The purpose of this study was to survey adults in the region about their needs and interest for a weight loss program. A telephone survey was conducted with 404 adults in Appalachian Kentucky. Sixty-nine percent (69%) of respondents were overweight or obese. Nearly half (48%) of respondents reported a diagnosis of a chronic health condition. The most frequently mentioned barriers to weight loss were current eating habits, time, and current physical condition. The most frequently mentioned motivators for losing weight were health, appearance, and feeling better. Sixty-eight percent (68%) of respondents were interested in losing weight. Women were more likely than men to have an accurate perception of their weight and a greater interest in losing weight.