Quality of Life Research

, Volume 24, Issue 5, pp 1131–1135 | Cite as

Obese subjects involvement in a population-based survey: the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to avoid stigmatization

  • Benoit Pétré
  • Anne-Françoise Donneau
  • Céline Crutze
  • Eddy Husson
  • André Scheen
  • Michèle Guillaume
Patient Engagement Special Section



Epidemiological and health promotion studies in obese subjects are hampered by the difficulty of obtaining a representative sample from the community. The enrollment process can be at high risk of stigmatization. The purpose of this study is to describe an original information and communication technologies (ICT) strategy to get around these ethical and methodological difficulties.


A multimedia campaign of communication was organized on the topic of overweight and quality of life (QoL). A specific website was developed to collect via a questionnaire QoL data as well as information related to patient’s needs and health perception from participants. To promote the website, multiple information supports were largely diffused. Primary care professionals were solicited to enhance the enrollment. The campaign started with a press conference covered by the main television channels.


The ICT-based approach allowed the participation of 4,155 subjects homogeneously distributed with respect to body mass index, age, gender and socioeconomic level. A high percentage of subjects fully completed the web-based questionnaire. The press conference allowed reaching a quarter of the total sample within 5 days.


Overweight remains a major public health problem. This survey showed that a holistic approach supported by ICT is a promising way to recruit obese subjects without stigmatizing the disorder.


Obesity Community survey Recruitment Stigmatization 



Information and communication technologies


Quality of life


Body mass index


Health interview survey



This work was supported by European Regional Development Fund and Belgian public authorities.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benoit Pétré
    • 1
  • Anne-Françoise Donneau
    • 1
  • Céline Crutze
    • 1
  • Eddy Husson
    • 1
  • André Scheen
    • 2
  • Michèle Guillaume
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Public Health, CHUUniversity of LiegeLiègeBelgium
  2. 2.Division of Diabetes, Nutrition and Metabolic Disorders, Department of MedicineCHULiègeBelgium

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