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Maintaining weight loss

27 February 2012

Maintaining weight loss Web

A team of University researchers led by Dr Sharon Simpson from the School of Medicine have been awarded £1.5M to conduct a study examining an intervention which aims to help adults who have lost weight to maintain their weight loss in the longer term.

The Weight Loss Maintenance in Adults (WILMA) study has been funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment (NIHR HTA) programme.

In light of the current obesity epidemic, a great deal of research effort has been devoted to looking at ways to encourage people to lose weight, however there are few studies specifically examining maintenance of weight loss.

Dr Simpson, School of Medicine, who will work alongside colleagues from the University of Glamorgan, Swansea University and the University of Leeds on the study, said: "There is some evidence which indicates that maintenance interventions are associated with smaller weight gains when compared to no contact, however the prevention of weight regain remains a challenge and around a third of the weight lost during an intervention is regained in the following year.

"We need to find ways to help those who are successful at losing weight to keep that weight off in the longer term so that the individuals can benefit from the health gains associated with the weight loss."

Many people are motivated enough to lose weight by dieting and/or exercise, however, maintaining these behaviours is challenging and therefore enhancing motivation will be crucial to continued maintenance of healthy behaviours.

Motivational Interviewing will be the key ingredient of the intervention which will be delivered to 633 adults across England and Wales.

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a counselling technique which enhances motivation for change. Other aspects of the intervention include self monitoring of behaviour and peer support groups.

Dr Simpson adds: "This trial will be one of the biggest trials ever conducted using motivational interviewing and it builds on decades of work completed here at Cardiff and further enhances our reputation in this area of research.

"This funding has given obesity research an important boost."

The study, which started recruitment in the Summer of 2011, aims to recruit 950 people across England and Wales and is supported by the School of Medicine based, South East Wales Trials Unit.

Related links:

The Weight Loss Maintenance in Adults (WILMA)

School of Medicine

Institute of Primary Care and Public Health

South East Wales Trials Unit (SEWTU)