Feasibility study of how best to engage obese men in narrative SMS (short message system) and incentive interventions for weight loss, to inform a future effectiveness and cost-effectiveness trial

Dombrowski SU, McDonald M, van der Pol M, Grindle M, Avenell A, Carroll P, Calveley E, Elders A, Glennie N, Gray CM, Harris FM, Hapca A, Jones C, Kee F, McKinley MC, Skinner R, Tod M, Hoddinott P
Record ID 32016000802
Authors' objectives: Being obese causes 5% of deaths worldwide and puts people at greater risk of diseases like diabetes or some cancers. In 2013, 26% of UK men were obese, but men rarely participate in weight loss programmes. This study looks at whether two interventions which show promise can help obese men lose weight and keep it off. INTERVENTION 1: Sending (and receiving) text messages to a mobile phone. These will be written as though they come from other men who are also losing weight and include how-to-do-it, diet and physical activity tips, friendly humour and support. INTERVENTION 2: The same texts plus giving men money (up to £400) in a personal account at the start. The money will vary over a year according to whether weight targets are met e.g. our PPI group suggested losing 10% of body weight at 12 months after the start of the study. This is called an endowment incentive and is based on research showing that modest payment helps men change their diet and physical activity habits, and change is more likely if they avoid losing, rather than getting, something. WE WANT TO FIND OUT if the texts work better with incentives than alone. Both interventions are delivered from a computer and have potential to reach large numbers, including men who don t use health services. This work will be done together with obese men and a charity for men to help us find the best ways to deliver the interventions to as many men as possible, including men in difficult life situations. THE STUDY HAS TWO PARTS: PHASE 1. We will decide text content to build a library; how often texts are sent; and how money is delivered according to weight measurements over a year. We will collect information, including scientific reports, a questionnaire, interviews (individuals, pairs or groups) with 20-30 obese men and discussions with 20 experts and men s representatives. We will identify the best places in two Scottish regions where researchers will invite obese men to take part in the study (e.g. shopping centres, pharmacies, community centres, or other venues). PHASE 2. We will study whether it is acceptable and possible to randomise obese men (like tossing a coin) to three groups: texts only; texts and endowment incentive; or to a control group who wait a year and then get the texts for 3 months. We will recruit 105 obese men from two regions. Half of the men will get an invitation letter from their GP. The other half will be approached in the community, given information about the study and invited to take part. They can take part if their trouser waist is 40 inches or more or their Body Mass Index is 30 or higher. We want to find out how long it takes to find 105 obese men who want to take part, how many come back to suitable venues at 3, 6 and 12 months to get weighed and answer questions about their quality of life, lifestyle and motivation. We will try and include men from all walks of life, so we will ask questions at the start like their age, address, who they live with, or if they have any illnesses like diabetes. At the end we will text all men in the study and ask them about their opinion of the study. We will also interview 18-24 men in more detail. THE STUDY WILL TELL US if our approach is acceptable, possible to deliver and if it could help men reduce obesity. If yes, then we will do a larger study to provide the evidence, costs, and benefits to individuals and society that governments and local services need to make decisions for roll out
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 2020
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Not Assigned
Country: England
MeSH Terms
  • Obesity Management
  • Text Messaging
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Obesity
  • Weight Loss
  • Social Media
Organisation Name: NIHR Public Health Research programme
Contact Address: NIHR Journals Library, National Institute for Health Research, Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre, Alpha House, University of Southampton Science Park, Southampton SO16 7NS, UK
Contact Name: journals.library@nihr.ac.uk
Contact Email: journals.library@nihr.ac.uk
Copyright: Queen's Printer and Controller of HMSO
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