Purpose: This study investigated Korean women in between age 30 to 60 who were obese or overweight in order to explore their self-perception based on lifetime phase. Methods: Focus group interviews were performed four times with six to eight participants in each group (a total of 27). Data were analyzed using inductive thematic analysis. Results: The data analysis from the interviews revealed recurring common themes: heavy heart, heavy body, resigned acceptance of their own condition, and compromise. The study also found that each age group had different concerns: concerning others' gaze on their obese appearances (30s), realizing their aging obese appearances (40s), recognizing red flags of their health with obesity (50s), and becoming ambivalent about their obese appearances (60s). Overall, their perceptions of being overweight were negative and stressful. Women in their 30s and 40s were more interested in their appearances, and thus were more obsessive about weight gain. In contrast, women in their 50s and 60s were more accepting of their physical appearances, and thus were more concerned about living healthy than losing weight. Conclusion: These results may be useful to consider when developing tailored weight-control programs for obese and overweight Korean women. Additionally, strategic approaches for successful and effective programs targeting healthy weight should be based on better understanding about women's self-perceptions and motivations.
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