Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Health and Nutritional Sciences

First Advisor

Lacey McCormack


barrier, facilitator, meal replacement, meal replacement program, weight loss


Background: Along with the United States obesity epidemic comes extensive weight loss attempts. One way people are attempting to lose weight is through meal replacement programs. Much work has been done to study strategies of structured weight loss programs and examine their success. Limited work has been done to study the specific barriers and facilitators of the real life participants who join weight loss programs. The purpose of this study is to identify, through qualitative research methods, the barriers to and facilitators of weight loss while participating in a meal replacement program.

Methods: Twenty-nine members of a meal replacement program participated in six focus groups conducted by a moderator using open-ended questions and probes. Focus groups were held in a private room and audio tape-recorded. Tapes were transcribed verbatim and content analysis was used to analyze transcripts for common weight loss themes.

Results: High internal motivation, adherence to the program, receiving support from family, engagement in physical activity, use of program products, and helpful information provided by the health coach were perceived as key facilitators for weight loss. Barriers included problems with physical activity, trouble adhering to the program, struggling in social settings, lack of health coach knowledge, difficulty with nutrition outside of the program, and lack of consistent information provided by the health coach.

Conclusions: To improve weight loss success, future studies should build upon the facilitators and address the barriers of each weight loss program.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Weight loss

Weight loss -- Psychological aspects


Reducing diets

Dietary supplements


Includes bibliographical references (page 43-46)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 2016 Alyson Drooger