An exploration of women's experiences regarding their weight status within a feminist and social constructionist framework
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The phenomenon of obesity is widespread and the obese are increasingly making use of weight loss programmes specifically focused on addressing this population group' s needs. With the increase in statistics regarding obesity comes a simultaneous increase in society's focus on the body-thin ideal. It is in this context that the current study explores women's experiences regarding their weight status. The women in this study all participated in the Healthy Weight Programme at the Sports Science Institute, Cape Town. This programme addresses both the exercise and the eating plan necessary for healthy living. The aims of the study were threefold, namely, to explore what factors the participants believe cause their overweight status, what coping strategies they employ as a buffer against difficulties that may arise as a result of their overweight status (stigmatization and prejudice), and what impact the overweight status has on their psychological wellbeing.