Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Health and Nutritional Sciences

First Advisor

Jessica Meendering


meal replacement, meal replacement program, weight management


Purpose: Meal replacement programs (MRPs) facilitate weight loss. Unfortunately, a large percentage of individuals that lose weight through MRP are not successful at maintaining their weight. Weight regain one year following weight loss via meal replacements has been as high as 40-50%, demonstrating a critical need to improve weight maintenance in MRP participants. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to identify barriers and facilitators of weight maintenance after reaching a goal weight in MRP participants.

Methods: Seven focus groups of ≤8 clients were conducted to discuss barriers and facilitators of weight maintenance prior to reaching a point of saturation. Participants were thirty-two MRP participants (31-82 years old) who had reached their goal weight via a proprietary MRP that included an element of health coaching. Statistical Analysis: Data were analyzed with NVivo10 qualitative software using content analysis theory to identify emerging themes.

Results: “Program logistics” was the most commonly discussed program barrier, which included subthemes of nutrition and physical activity education, support from health coaches, and confidence in health coach knowledge. “Outside influence” emerged as the second most robust barrier discussed, which included work environments and social interactions. “Interpersonal relationships” emerged as a primary weight maintenance facilitator, which encompassed interactions from family, friends, and coworkers. Health coaches also emerged as a facilitator of weight maintenance in terms of support, knowledge, and consistency.

Conclusions: While different themes emerged as the most prominent barriers and facilitators to weight maintenance, strengths and weaknesses were noted within each theme highlighting the vast variation in participant needs. MRPs should consider adding a program screening tool to learn about the needs of program participants in order to tailor the program to each individual and thus, maximize weight maintenance.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Weight loss

Weight loss -- Psychological aspects

Health behavior

Reducing diets

Dietary supplements


Includes bibliographical references (page 42-45)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright