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Facilitators and Barriers to Weight Loss Among Patients With Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension.

BACKGROUND: Little is known about motivation for weight loss and barriers to weight loss among patients with idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH). Such information is crucial for developing tailored weight management recommendations and novel interventions.

METHODS: We administered a survey to patients with IIH presenting to neuro-ophthalmology clinics at The University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center (Michigan, USA) and St. Thomas' Hospital (London, England). Participants rated importance and motivation to lose weight (1-10 scale; 10 = extremely important/motivated). Facilitators and barriers to weight loss were assessed using open-ended survey questions informed by motivational interviewing methodology. Open-ended responses were coded by 2 team members independently using a modified grounded theory approach. Demographic data were extracted from medical records. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze quantitative responses.

RESULTS: Of the 221 (43 Michigan and 178 London) patients with IIH (Table 1), most were female (n = 40 [93.0%] Michigan and n = 167 [94.9%] London). The majority of patients in the United States were White (n = 35 [81.4%] Michigan), and the plurality were Black in the United Kingdom (n = 67 [37.6%] London]) with a mean (SD) BMI of 38.9 kg/m2 (10.6 kg/m2) Michigan and 37.5 kg/m2 (7.7 kg/m2) London. Participants' mean (SD) level of importance to lose weight was 8.5 (2.2) (8.1 [2.3] Michigan and 8.8 [2.1] London), but their mean (SD) level of motivation to lose weight was 7.2 (2.2) (6.8 [2.4] Michigan and 7.4 [2.1] London). Nine themes emerged from the 992 open-ended coded survey responses grouped into 3 actionable categories: self-efficacy, professional resources (weight loss tools, diet, physical activity level, mental health, and physical health), and external factors (physical/environmental conditions, social influences, and time constraints). Most responses (55.6%; n = 551) were about barriers to weight loss. Lack of self-efficacy was the most discussed single barrier (N = 126; 22.9% total, 28.9% Michigan, and 20.4% London) and facilitator (N = 77; 17.5% total, 15.9% Michigan, and 18.7% London) to weight loss. Other common barriers were related to physical activity level (N = 79; 14.3% total, 13.2% Michigan, and 14.8% London) and diet (N = 79; 14.3% total, 9.4% Michigan, and 16.3% London). Commonly reported facilitators included improvements in physical activity level (N = 73; 16.6% total, 18.5% Michigan, and 15.1% London) and dietary changes (N = 76; 17.2% total, 16.4% Michigan, and 17.9% London).

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with IIH believe weight loss is important. Self-efficacy was the single most mentioned important patient-identified barrier or facilitator of weight loss, but professional resource needs and external factors vary widely at the individual level. These factors should be assessed to guide selection of weight loss interventions that are tailored to individual patients with IIH.

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