Motivating Weight Loss Among Black Adults in Relationships: Recommendations for Weight Loss Interventions

Candice L. Alick, Carmen Samuel-Hodge, Alice Ammerman, Katrina R. Ellis, Christine Rini, Deborah F. Tate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Black men and women have the highest rates of obesity in the United States. Behavioral weight loss programs incorporating intimate partners may be effective in combating obesity among this population. Yet, current participation in these programs is low. Identifying motivations and triggers to weight loss may provide insight in designing programs to increase participation. Aim: To determine triggers and motivations for weight loss among Black men and women in committed relationships to inform development of weight loss interventions. Method: Twenty semi-structured interviews, based on an integrated theoretical framework of interdependence and communal coping and the social cognitive theory, were conducted among Black heterosexual couples where one or both individuals intentionally lost ≥5% of their body weight in the last 6 months in a metropolitan region in a southern state. Interviews were transcribed and coded. Themes were identified following multi-rater coding and direct and conventional content analysis. Recommendations were developed from emergent themes. Results: Among individuals with recent weight loss, personal relevancy and awareness (health awareness and self-awareness) were identified as personal triggers for weight loss initiation. Health concerns and appearance were general motivations among the total sample. Conclusion: Emphasizing the impact of weight on daily functioning and quality of life, and increasing awareness of personal weight status and health consequences, may increase weight loss initiation and participation in weight loss programs among Black men and women in committed relationships. Findings also highlight strategies to improve recruitment and retention and guide intervention development and implementation for this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-106
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Education and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • African American/Black
  • barriers
  • intervention
  • motivations
  • triggers
  • weight loss


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