Weight-loss strategies used by baby boomer men: a mixed methods approach
Baby Boomer men (those born in 1946–1964) are becoming obese at an earlier age compared to previous generations. The present study aimed to identify weight-loss strategies used by Baby Boomer men, to determine whether those strategies varied by weight status and to explore their dieting experiences.
The study used a cross-sectional survey of 211 men and 20 in-depth interviews.
Men had a mean (SD) body mass index (BMI) of 29.35 (5.07) kg m–2, with 82% being overweight or obese. Fifty-six percent were currently trying to lose weight. Healthy weight-loss strategies included reducing portions, increasing physical activity, cutting back on fried foods, cutting back on sweets, cutting back on alcohol, using meal replacement drinks/bars and joining a weight-loss programme. Unhealthy strategies included skipping meals and using over-the-counter ‘diet pills’. Men who reduced portions, skipped meals, cut back on sweets, joined a weight-loss programme and used diet pills had significantly higher BMIs than men who said they did not (P < 0.05 for all). Interviews revealed that older men struggle to lose weight, ‘I’ve been struggling for the last 2–3 years’. ‘The last time I really tried to lose weight I stayed on the diet for just a day or two’. Wives were considered essential to their weight management success.
Men used a do-it-yourself weight-loss approach using both healthy and unhealthy strategies. Obese men were more likely to use unhealthy practices than overweight men.