Evidence-based ICT tools for weight loss maintenance

Project Overview

Weight Loss Maintenance

Weight loss programmes help people lose weight but don’t help them keep it off.

Changing behaviour

Evidence-based research on what works and what does not work.

NoHoW Toolkit

Mobile apps, web-based tools and inputs from other technologies, such as smart scales and activity trackers.

Many people manage to successfully lose weight, and there are effective community-based and commercial approaches for weight loss. But for many people, keeping this weight off can be difficult. Researchers already know that weight loss maintenance depends on changing different behaviours. There are many techniques available to help people change their behaviour in the long term, but we still don’t know which of these techniques work best for weight loss maintenance or why.

In response, the University of Leeds is part of an exciting innovative project called NoHoW (Navigating to a Healthy Weight), which is interested in testing new technology, based on the most recent evidence, to help people maintain their weight loss. It will examine whether providing support via a web-based toolkit and other technologies (e.g. digital weighing scales and an activity meter) can influence weight loss maintenance over an 18 month period.




Evidence it Works

The NoHoW Toolkit will be tested in the United Kingdom, Portugal and Denmark.

To find out more information on how you could take part in this exciting new study, please click on the links to visit the Can I take part? and How do I take part? sections.




CAN I TAKE PART?

You are able to take part if you:

  • ___________________________________________

  • Are 18 years or older.
  • Live or work in the Leeds area and are able to travel to the University of Leeds.
  • As this study is based upon weight loss and supporting people to maintain this weight loss, you must have lost at least 5% of your body weight intentionally in the last 12 months, and have started with a BMI of 25 or more before your weight loss (don’t worry we can calculate this for you).
  • Are still below your highest weight.
  • Have access to the internet and Wi-Fi at home. You will need to have access to a computer, laptop, mobile phone or tablet with access to the internet to use the NoHoW web-based app. The Fitbit Aria scales also require a Wi-Fi connection to be set-up at home.
  • Are able to use standard bathroom standing weighing scales.

You will not be able to participate if you:

  • ___________________________________________

  • Have lost weight due to illness or surgical procedures, including bariatric procedures.
  • Are pregnant.
  • Are breastfeeding.
  • Have been recently diagnosed with an eating disorder.
  • Have been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.
  • Have been diagnosed with any condition that may interfere with mild to moderate physical activity- an activity which raises your heart rate, makes you breathe faster and makes you feel warmer.
  • Are currently taking part in a research project that confounds with the aims of NoHoW (excluding local health interventions and weight management services)’ and are still below your highest weight (and no more than 150kg due to the maximum weight the scales allow).
  • Plan to move out of the area or undertake long-term travel for more than 4 weeks in the next 18 months.
If you are interested in taking part, please visit the How do I take part? section

HOW DO I TAKE PART?

Before you decide to take part:

  • Take your time to read the information on the website and the information sheet available here.
  • If you're unsure whether you can take part, please click here to refer to ‘Can I take part?’.

  • If you think you’d like to take part, please complete the short online eligibility form .

    Please note: if you have problems accessing the form online, simply email nohow@leeds.ac.uk or phone (0113) 3430622 and we will be happy to assist you.

    If I sign up, what happens next?

    After you have completed the online form, we will give you a call to confirm some details. If you are able to take part, we will arrange to meet with you at the University of Leeds and answer any remaining questions you have before you formally sign up to take part in the study. You will be invited to attend 5 sessions across 18 months. Additionally, at a number of time points (month 1, 3, 6, 12 and 18) throughout the study, you will also be asked to complete some short online questionnaires about your experience of the toolkit. If you agree to take part, we hope that you will be able to remain in the study for 18 months.

    Visit 1

    The first visit would take place at the research centre at the University of Leeds and will take up to 4 hours. You will be able to discuss the study in detail and will be invited to sign a consent form giving your agreement to participate in the study. All data will be anonymised.

    You will then be asked to give a range of fasting measurements including body weight, height, hip and waist circumference, and health markers including optional blood pressure, body composition, and optional hair samples. You will also have the option to provide fasting bloods samples via a small finger-prick, which will help us to assess important health markers but this is voluntary.

    We will also ask you to fill out a one off questionnaire. This will include information such as date of birth, gender, and personal characteristics (e.g. weight loss history, experience with mobile technologies, and some questions about your typical eating behaviour). You will also be asked to complete questionnaires relating to physical activity, motivation, emotional state, stress, well-being, quality of life, and dietary intake. You can complete these questionnaires onsite or in your own time prior to the visit.

    You will then be randomly assigned to one of four groups, using a computer program. These groups will be offered different versions of the toolkit that might provide general health information, tools to help you self-manage your eating and activity behaviours, your motivation, or your emotional responses to stress.

    Participants in each of these groups will be required to weigh themselves a minimum of twice a week and on the same days of the week (e.g., Monday and Thursday) throughout the study with the Fitbit Aria weighing scales. Participants will also be required to wear a wrist-worn activity meter (Fitbit Charge 2) for the duration of the study. We will provided you with these devices free of charge. At the end of the day, there will be a short training session to get you set up with your tools (Fitbit Charge 2 and Aria weighing scales).

    Additionally, we would ask that you do not eat or drink anything except for water from 10 pm the night before and to attend the research centre the following morning.

    A few days after your visit you will also be asked to complete an online 4-day food diary.

    Visit 2

    We would then offer you an optional visit to the University of Leeds within two weeks to discuss any issues that you may have (i.e. the NoHoW web-based app, the Fitbit Charge 2 and Aria scales).

    Visit 3

    Your third visit will be due 6 months after your first visit and will last up to 4 hours. A researcher will take many of the same fasting measurements made at visit 1 including body weight, height, hip and waist circumference, blood pressure and body composition. We won’t be requesting the optional blood and hair samples at this visit. You will also be asked to complete questionnaires relating to physical activity, motivation, emotional state, stress, well-being, quality of life, and dietary intake. You can complete these questionnaires onsite or in your own time prior to the visit.

    Visit 4

    Your fourth visit will be 12 months after your first visit and will last up to 4 hours. A researcher will take the same fasting measurements made at visit 1 including the optional hair samples. You will also be asked to complete questionnaires relating to physical activity, motivation, emotional state, stress, well-being, and quality of life. You can complete these questionnaires onsite or in your own time prior to the visit. You will also have the option to provide fasting blood samples via a small finger-prick, which will help us to assess important health markers but this is voluntary. Even if you choose to provide blood and hair samples at the start of study, you can change your mind at any point.

    Visit 5

    Your final visit will be 18 months after your first visit and will last up to 4 hours. A researcher will take many of the same fasting measurements made at visit 1 including body weight, hip and waist circumference, blood pressure, body composition, and questionnaires. You can complete these questionnaires onsite or in your own time prior to the visit. We won’t be requesting the optional blood and hair samples at this visit. You will receive a £30 reward and an e-book with full toolkit content. You will also be able to keep the Fitbit Charge 2 and Aria scales (worth £200) as a small thank you for participating in the study. Following your final visit, you will be provided with a study data sheet, which will outline all of the measures taken from you throughout the duration of the study.

    Has the research been approved?

    This study has been reviewed and approved by the School of Psychology Research Ethics Committee (ref no: 17-0082; date approved: 27 Feb 2017).

    Who is organising and funding the research?

    The research is organised by Professor James Stubbs and his team at the University of Leeds. Furthermore, the research team at the University of Leeds are working in collaboration with other centres across Europe. The research has been funded by a grant from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under Grant Agreement No 643309.

    MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

    Is it free to join the NoHoW study?

    Yes, taking part is absolutely free.

    My contact details have changed?

    Please email the research team on nohow@leeds.ac.uk with the most up to date information.

    Who do I need to contact to change my appointment time?

    Please email us at nohow@leeds.ac.uk or telephone on (0113) 3430622 as soon as possible.

    What do I need to bring to my appointment?

    For your first visit to the University you will need to bring the following things with you:

    • A suitable bag to carry the weighing scales.

    • Reading glasses (if required)

    • Completed weight loss history form.

    If have access to a weight history record or book over any or all of the last year, please bring this with you to your visit. For the visits thereafter (after you first appointment at the University) you will only need to bring reading glasses, if required.

    I can’t access my toolkit?

    To add standard advice and then if you still unable to access the toolkit after completing these steps, please feel free to contact the research team either by telephone (0113) 3430622 or via email nohow@leeds.ac.uk and the research team will be happy to assist you.

    I have forgotten my username?

    Please email us at nohow@leeds.ac.ukand we will be happy to assist you.

    I have forgotten my password?

    Please email us at nohow@leeds.ac.uk and we will be happy to assist you.

    Can I use my own Fitibit and still receive the free Fitbit Charge 2?

    The Fitbit Charge 2 we provide is a tracked and monitored research tool that must be used throughout the 18 month trial. A current Fitbit user is able to use their old account which can be linked to the free Fitbit Charge 2, providing certain account settings are altered to meet the NoHoW specification.

    My Fitbit Charge 2 or Aria Scales have stopped working?

    My Fitbit device will not sync with my Fitbit app – In this case it may be necessary to make sure you have updated your Fitbit app to the latest version and you have updated your mobile phone software. For more advice on syncing your Fitbit please visit this link.

    My Fitbit device is only displaying ‘Update’– Plug your Fitbit Charge 2 into your Fitbit charger, this should update the device automatically. For more advice on how to update your Fitbit device, please visit this link.

    For other problems related to your Fitbit Charge 2 or Fitbit Aria Scales please refer to the manual that came with the devices and follow the troubleshooting steps detailed at the end of the manual. If the problem continues to persist, after completing the troubleshooting steps, please visit the Fitbit help website. Alternatively, feel free to contact the research team at nohow@leeds.ac.uk or via telephone on (0113) 3430622 and we will be happy to assist you.

    Can I have Fitbit friends?

    The Fitbit Charge 2 we provide is a research tool, therefore, it would be appreciated if this feature was not used as this could interfere with the outcome of the intervention content.

    Can another person use my Aria Scales?

    Yes, if the other user is NOT of a similar weight to the participant they are able to use the scales using a separate Fitbit account. The Aria Scales are a research tool and if they are in use by someone else, who is of a similar weight, this could make your weight data in the Toolkit less accurate.

    My Fitbit has been un-synced from the toolkit.

    If this happens please follow the step by step procedure described in Toolkit dashboard. It will state ‘Fitbit connection failed. Please follow the link to do the Fitbit re-authoization for NoHoW Toolkit and refresh this page after that.’ You will need your Fitbit and Toolkit logins.

    Will I receive feedback on my physical measures taken on the visit days?

    You will receive your physical measures data at the end of the intervention rather than at the end of each site visit. You will be informed straight away if any of your values fall outside the expected range and what to do. If you don’t receive this information, you can expect that your values are normal.

    I don’t want to carry on with this study?

    You are free to withdraw from the NoHoW study at any time without giving a reason as the research is voluntary. Please feel free to contact the research team either by telephone (0113) 3430622 or via email nohow@leeds.ac.uk. Please note: Your data will be collected at each visit, initially at baseline, 6, 12 and 18 months. The information collected from the questionnaires and measures at each time point will be stored in separate databases. Four weeks after each data collection point, the databases containing the new information will be inaccessible, ready for the team to start analysing the data. Your data will be more difficult to remove after this time point.

    Contact Us

    If you have any questions or want to find out more about our research, please feel free to contact the research team.

    You can reach the research team by
    Telephone (0113) 3430622 (Monday to Friday, 9am until 4pm)
    or
    you can e-mail them at nohow@leeds.ac.uk.
    You can find out more about NoHoW by referring to the main project website: www.nohow.eu

    Meet the Team

    The NoHoW team for the UK are based at the University of Leeds.
    Professor James Stubbs
    Trial Leader
    Professor James Stubbs – Trial Leader
    Dr. Sarah Scott
    Research Fellow
    Dr. Sarah Scott – Research Fellow
    Fiona Croden
    Research Officer
    Fiona Croden – Research Officer
    Beth Pearson
    Research Officer
    Beth Pearson – Research Officer
    Lauren Ramsey
    Research Officer