Life After Weight Loss: Design Implications for Community-based Long-term Weight Management
The pervasiveness of online health communities and recent exponential growth of health tracking technologies provide new possibilities for weight management, an important health issue that remains prevalent. To enhance the understanding of how to support them to succeed, we investigate people’s practices and experiences over the course of weight management, interviewing users from a well-established online peer-to-peer weight management community that integrates a calorie tracking tool. We find that support for weight loss maintenance was surprisingly overlooked, which we identify as a missed opportunity both for recognizing and leveraging individual member’s success and for enhancing community development. Our findings further characterize the changes people experience when they have transited from weight loss to weight loss maintenance. These changes of experience converge onto four facets, including motivation, goal recognition, social support, and social presence. We discuss the specific challenges and associated design opportunities these changes of experience afford for supporting long-term success of weight management.