A qualitative exploration of social and environmental factors affecting diet and activity in knee replacement patients

Sara A. Hoffman*, Gwendolyn Ledford, Kenzie A. Cameron, Siobhan M. Phillips, Christine Ann Pellegrini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Aims and objectives: To examine perceived social and environmental barriers and facilitators for healthy eating and activity before and after knee replacement. Background: Many patients undergoing knee replacement surgery are overweight or obese. While obesity treatment guidelines encourage diet and activity modifications, gaps exist in understanding social and environmental determinants of these behaviours for knee replacement patients. Identifying these determinants is critical for treatment, as they are likely amplified due to patients’ mobility limitations, the nature of surgery and reliance on others during recovery. Design: This qualitative study used semi-structured interviews. Methods: Twenty patients (M = 64.7 ± 9.8 years, 45% female, 90% Caucasian, body mass index 30.8 ± 5.5 kg/m 2 ) who were scheduled for or had recently undergone knee replacement were interviewed. Participants were asked to identify social and environmental factors that made it easier or harder to engage in healthy eating or physical activity. Deidentified transcripts were analysed via constant comparative analysis to identify barriers and facilitators to healthy eating and activity. This paper was written in accordance with COnsolidated criteria for REporting Qualitative research standards. Results: Identified social and environmental healthy eating barriers included availability of unhealthy food and attending social gatherings; facilitators included availability of healthy food, keeping unhealthy options “out of sight,” and social support. Weather was the primary activity barrier, while facilitators included access to physical activity opportunities and social support. Conclusions: Results provide salient factors for consideration by clinicians and behavioural programmes targeting diet, activity, and weight management, and patient variables to consider when tailoring interventions. Relevance to clinical practice: Practitioners treating knee replacement patients would be aided by an understanding of patients’ perceived social and environmental factors that impede or facilitate surgical progress. Particularly for those directly interacting with patients, like nurses, physiotherapists, or other professionals, support from health professionals appears to be a strong facilitator of adherence to diet and increased activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1156-1163
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • eating
  • exercise intervention
  • health psychology
  • knee replacement
  • qualitative study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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