Addressing overweight and obesity in people with cardiovascular risk factors is an important aspect of cardiac rehabilitation, but minimal implementation of targeted strategies has occurred. The aim of this study was to describe participants' perspectives of a multi-component, group-based weight loss supplement to cardiac rehabilitation programmes. Four focus groups of participants completing the intervention (n = 16) and maintenance phases (n = 19) of the Healthy Eating and Exercise Lifestyle Program (HEELP) were conducted. Interviews were transcribed and thematically analyzed using an inductive process. The overall theme of participants' responses was that HEELP helped them reprogramme their lifestyle behaviours to achieve weight loss. The programme was unique compared with other weight loss programmes because it was delivered and developed by familiar and expert health professionals who tailored the programme to participants' health status. Themes included the process of recognizing and deciding to make a commitment to managing their weight problem and feeling supported by the group and the staff to do this. Participants valued the group-based structure and the specific tools used in the programme. The programme content and structure provides a framework for the development of supplemental programmes for overweight and obese people at high cardiovascular risk.
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd.