Understanding Minangkabau Culture and its Impact on Weight Management Strategies in Overweight and Obese Women: A Qualitative Study

The Open Public Health Journal 26 Apr 2024 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/0118749445300276240327053131



Overweight and obesity have a particular impact on women; thus, overweight and obese women need to modify their lifestyle in order to lose weight. Diet and exercise are part of the lifestyle influenced by the values of society.


This study aimed to explore the influence of Minangkabau cultural values on weight management strategies among obese women, aiming to identify culturally appropriate interventions.


The data were collected through Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and semi-structured interviews between 35 overweight and obese women, two Minangkabau community leaders, and three health workers in Solok, West Sumatra Province, from June to December 2022. The data were analysed using a descriptive-qualitative approach with thematic content analysis and Colaizzi’s method.


Our analysis revealed three primary themes: eating habits being more desire-driven, less nutritious, and irregular; infrequent exercise due to physical and psychosocial barriers; and significant challenges in weight management due to social and cultural values.


The study highlights the profound influence of Minangkabau cultural values on diet and exercise habits among overweight and obese women, including foods containing coconut milk and fried foods served as the daily menu at home and traditional events; behavioural rules for women to dress without revealing their curves; the prohibition to exercise in public and walk alone; and the significance of obesity as a symbol of prosperity. There is a need for a strategy to encourage healthy diet and exercise habits in society in accordance with the Minangkabau cultural values for women. A support group consisting of numerous obese women, their families, and community leaders is also required.

Keywords: Diet, Exercise, Minangkabau culture, Obesity, Weight management, Women.
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