Event Abstract

NoHoW Project: Evidence-based digital tools for weight loss maintenance

  • 1 Faculty of Human Kinetics, University of Lisbon, Portugal, CIPER- Self-Regulation, Portugal
  • 2 University College of London, Department of Education, Clinical and Health Psychology, United Kingdom
  • 3 University of Newcastle, Institute of Health & Society, United Kingdom
  • 4 Research Unit for Dietary Studies at The Parker Institute, Frederiksberg, Denmark, Denmark
  • 5 University of Leeds, School of Psychology, Faculty of Medicine and Health, United Kingdom
  • 6 University of Aberdeen, Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland, Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, United Kingdom
  • 7 University of Coimbra, Cognitive and Behavioural Centre for Research and Intervention, Portugal
  • 8 VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, Denmark
  • 9 Aaarhus University, Denmark
  • 10 Slimming World, United Kingdom
  • 11 European Association for Study of Obesity, United Kingdom

Rationale: Very few comprehensive treatments are currently available for weight loss maintenance (WLM). Research suggests that if interventions are to be effective in promoting sustained health behaviour change they should use theory- and evidence-based techniques. Digital solutions have the potential to provide accessible, scalable channels for people to engage with these evidence-based behaviour change techniques. The NoHoW project is a European Union H2020-funded project bringing together leading experts in behaviour change, technology providers, and weight loss/ obesity to develop tools to help people maintain previously lost weight. Aim: NoHoW will carry out a large-scale European randomized controlled trial to test whether different evidence-based and novel behaviour change, emotion- and self-regulation techniques delivered via a digital toolkit, promote successful WLM. Methods The NoHoW trial is a 3-centre (Denmark, Portugal, United Kingdom) 2x2 randomized controlled trial (RCT) targeting approximately 1600 participants that lost at least 5% of their weight in the last 12 months. Primary outcomes are weight, body composition, cortisol, full lipids & HbA1c; and secondary outcomes are diet, physical activity, sleep, moderators and mediators of behaviour change, predictors of relapse/maintenance, process evaluation and cost-effectiveness. The NoHoW trial tests behavior change approaches for self-regulation and motivation versus emotion regulation/stress management for WLM. These approaches are delivered through a digital toolkit. The toolkit includes a set of web-app tools and inputs from other technologies, such as smart scales and activity trackers, and offers a personalised behaviour modification feedback system targeting weight, sleep, physical activity, and dietary behaviours. Informed by the guidelines for the development of complex behaviour change interventions and principles applied in previous theory-based behaviour change interventions, we used a systematic approach to the translation of theory and evidence to intervention components. Expected results and impact: The RCT and linked studies of European consumer needs and behaviour will test whether digitally-based delivery of evidence-based behaviour change techniques is effective for WLM. Project results will feed into new developments for implementation by Slimming World (a large European commercial weight-loss provider), providing WLM benefits to >700,000 overweight and obese individuals. Large-scale implementation of online WLM tools will provide complementary, enhanced support to services that promote health education and weight management. Conclusion: A systematic approach to the development of digital solutions based on theory, evidence, and user-testing, can largely contribute to the advancement of the science of behavior change and implementation of sustainable solutions to WLM across the Europe.


Funding: This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 643309

Keywords: behavior change, weight loss maintenance, activity trackers, Behaviour change techniques, Factorial design, Horizon 2020

Conference: 3rd UCL Centre for Behaviour Change Digital Health Conference 2017: Harnessing digital technology for behaviour change, London, United Kingdom, 22 Feb - 23 Feb, 2017.

Presentation Type: Research abstract

Topic: Digital Health

Citation: Marques MM, Heitman B, Stubbs RJ, Teixeira P, Sniehotta F, Palmeira A, Horgan G, Matos M, Ermes M, Lähteenmäki L, Sacher P and Woodward E (2017). NoHoW Project: Evidence-based digital tools for weight loss maintenance. Front. Public Health. Conference Abstract: 3rd UCL Centre for Behaviour Change Digital Health Conference 2017: Harnessing digital technology for behaviour change. doi: 10.3389/conf.FPUBH.2017.03.00042

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Received: 22 Feb 2017; Published Online: 22 Feb 2017.

* Correspondence: Dr. Marta M Marques, Faculty of Human Kinetics, University of Lisbon, Portugal, CIPER- Self-Regulation, Lisboa, Portugal, martamarques@fmh.ulisboa.pt