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Table 3 Example quotes by focus group (FG) participants related to “Impact of Military Service” theme

From: Military service and other socioecological factors influencing weight and health behavior change in overweight and obese Veterans: a qualitative study to inform intervention development within primary care at the United States Veterans Health Administration

Number Factors Quote FGa
1 Veteran identity Here’s the thing about Veterans, is that once you’re one, you’re always one and the bonding that Veterans have is just like…you start telling war stories or back in the day stuff and … it uplifts everybody. M3B
2 Pressure to maintain weight or stay fit I was about size 10 and I was a pound overweight and they were gonna put me on the fat girl program, yeah…Well I lost a couple more, just in case, but it does give you discipline to stay in shape… those cockpits are small. F2
3 Developed poor eating habits I mean on base we had Burger King and fast-food, and MREs [meals ready to eat] are 3500 cal each, so I mean I continued that once I got out and I’m still eating just as much, but not burning as much so I think our poor eating habits continue. F2
4 Belief that diet less impactful than physical activity; Chronic pain Okay, so eating well is a myth to some degree. We know eating well will have an impact, but in terms of my body it doesn’t have a major impact…[If] I can get back into my exercise routine that will probably help me more than anything because I injured my knee so I have stopped jogging. And that’s when I lost control. M3A
5 Structure in military But that’s with a lot of soldiers when they get out of the military and no one is tapping you on the shoulder saying, gee, you just gained 20 lb. You should lose it. You don’t. I don’t have to anymore. M2
6 Lack of structure impacts lifestyle When you’re not working anymore, and you’re not – you don’t have the structure of going to work every day, you’re not on your feet, moving around, doing things, eating three meals a day, all of sudden…your whole life is unstructured. M1
7 Lack of autonomy …sometimes in the military your body and your life aren’t your own. So then when you transition out, all of the sudden it is. F2
8 Unprepared to make health/life decisions I mean, when I was in the military I basically had everything taken care of for me because I went in as a kid…you didn’t have to worry about rent, you didn’t have to worry about medical, I mean everything was taken care of for you. F2
9 Lack of support and services I’m telling you, you served for your country, in my opinion, they don’t even care. I mean…the Weight Watchers. Why can’t the [VHA] get a discount on that? And the gym…? I mean, there’s so many things that can be helpful for a Veteran. M2
  1. aM male focus group, F female focus group