Obesity is a common (30%–40%) comorbidity of psoriasis. Weight loss is shown to improve the severity of psoriasis; however, little is known about the factors that may influence successful weight loss in the context of obesity and psoriasis. The current qualitative study aimed to explore the obesity-associated beliefs, perceptions, and behaviours related to weight loss in psoriasis. Preferences for a weight loss intervention were also explored.
Qualitative in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with 24 adults (62.5% male) with moderate-to-severe psoriasis and obesity (mean body mass index = 35.2 kg/m2, SD = 4.1), recruited through a patient organization website in the UK. Data were analysed using inductive thematic analysis.
Most participants viewed psoriasis as unrelated to obesity. A well-controlled psoriasis and improvements in psoriasis symptoms were considered as major motivators for engaging in a weight loss program by individuals who viewed psoriasis and obesity as related conditions. Comfort eating was perceived as an escape strategy from the psoriasis-induced negative emotions. Participants shared their dissatisfaction with current weight loss recommendations which were too generic. They suggested that a desirable weight loss program would require both emotional and behavioural support, with an emphasis on psoriasis’ burden.
The findings accentuate the importance of (1) clinicians discussing the link between obesity and psoriasis with patients, (2) weight loss advice to include both behavioural and emotional support, and (3) a weight loss advice to consider the psoriasis burden and the perceived barriers which may potentially lead to improved outcomes to obesity management in psoriasis.