Socio-demographic predictors of uptake of a virtual group weight management program during the COVID-19 pandemic

Sally Abbott (Lead Author), Helen M. Parretti, Jonathan Hazelhurst, Abd A. Tahrani

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Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant adverse impact on the delivery of weight management programmes (WMPs), in order to ensure the safety of patients and healthcare professionals. Videoconferencing could provide safe remote access to group WMPs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The objectives of this study were to determine the uptake of a virtual group WMP and its predictors. Methods: All patients enrolled on a face-to-face group WMP, which constitutes part of a Tier 3 WMP delivered by the NHS, at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown were invited to transfer to a virtual format of the group WMP. Baseline data included weight, BMI, age, gender, ethnicity and Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) quintile score. The outcomes were accept/decline transfer to the virtual group WMP. Logistic regression was performed to assess for predictors of uptake. Results: The 315 participants were included, of which 72.1% (n = 227) accepted. After adjusting for gender, deprivation and BMI; older patients (OR 0.966, [95% CI 0.944, 0.989]; p = 0.003) and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnicity (BAME) patients (OR 0.460 [95% 0.248, 0.851]; p = 0.023) were less likely to accept the virtual group WMP. Conclusion: Strategies aimed at improving uptake of group WMP among BAME and older adult groups are needed, particularly considering the increased risk of severe COVID-19 in these two groups, and the links between obesity and poor COVID-19 outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)480-484
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics
Issue number3
Early online date23 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • COVID-19
  • obesity
  • weight management

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