Background

Social support plays a crucial role in weight loss maintenance. The present study evaluates the relationship between social support, health, and engagement with a stepped-care weight management program.Participants (Age >= 18; BMI >= 25) completed the MOVE!11 questionnaire assessing biopsychosocial functioning. We conducted chi-square tests to compare items related to social support, health, and engagement. Participants (n=114; Mage=47.6+-11.2) primarily identified as female (n = 82; 71.9%) and non-Hispanic White (n=76; 69.1%), averaged a BMI of 34.68 (+-7.23), national ADI of 23.26 (+-9.99), and state ADI of 5.45 (+-1.33). More participants who reported experiencing family or relationship problems dropped out (χ² (2, n=89)=7.45, p=.024) and chose a more intensive level of care (e.g., medication management or surgery versus Noom or therapy; χ² (18, n=91)=29.35, p=.044). Those who reported experiencing loneliness or loss of a loved one dropped out (χ² (6, n=102)=17.84, p=.007) and chose a more intensive level of care (χ² (18, n=91)=29.35, p=.044). Lack of support was reported as a barrier to changing physical activity more in participants with lower national (χ² (2, n=88)=18.89, p<.001) and state ADI (χ² (6, n=88)=23.23, p<.001). Lack of social support may impede healthy habit maintenance, as those who reported more interpersonal problems dropped out of the weight management program and chose a more intensive level of care at higher rates. Future research should utilize standardized measures to examine the influence of social support on engagement in and outcomes of weight management programs.