International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 56, Issue 2, pp 181–189 | Cite as

Barriers to a healthy lifestyle among obese adolescents: a qualitative study from Iran

  • Parisa Amiri
  • Fazlollah GhofranipourEmail author
  • Fazlollah Ahmadi
  • Farhad Hosseinpanah
  • Ali Montazeri
  • Sara Jalali-Farahani
  • Ali Rastegarpour
Original Article



Existing data show a rising prevalence of overweight and obesity among Iranian adolescents. The current study investigates adolescents’ perceptions regarding overweight/obesity and explores barriers to a healthy life style among Iranian adolescents.


A grounded theory approach was used for analyzing the participants’ experiences, and their perceptions. To collect data, semi-structured focus group discussions and in-depth interviews were conducted with 51 adolescents (27 girls and 24 boys), aged 15–17 years, who were either overweight or obese. Qualitative content analysis of the data was conducted manually and differences in coding were resolved via discussion by four independent reviewers.


Two main barriers, personal and environmental emerged from data analysis. Positive perception of condition, priority of studying, lack of willingness, unsatisfactory results, low self-esteem, and perceived lack of control were the major personal barriers while lack of family and cultural support, inadequate education and scarcity of resources were the common environmental barriers to adolescents’ healthy lifestyles.


Findings demonstrated the main personal and environmental barriers for a healthy life style as perceived by adolescents. Understanding these barriers might contribute to existing literature by providing evidence from a different culture, and help to design effective preventive strategies, and implement appropriate interventions.


Barriers Life style Adolescents Obesity Overweight Qualitative study 



The authors would like to thank all participants who made this study possible.


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Parisa Amiri
    • 1
  • Fazlollah Ghofranipour
    • 1
    Email author
  • Fazlollah Ahmadi
    • 2
  • Farhad Hosseinpanah
    • 3
  • Ali Montazeri
    • 4
  • Sara Jalali-Farahani
    • 5
  • Ali Rastegarpour
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Health EducationTarbiat Modares UniversityTehranIran
  2. 2.Department of NursingTarbiat Modares UniversityTehranIran
  3. 3.Internal Medicine and Endocrinology, Obesity Research Center, Research Institute for Endocrine SciencesShahid Beheshti University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  4. 4.Public Health and Epidemiology, Department of Mental HealthIranian Institute for Health Sciences ResearchTehranIran
  5. 5.Obesity Research Center, Research Institute for Endocrine SciencesShahid Beheshti University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  6. 6.Shahid Beheshti University of Medical SciencesTehranIran

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