Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Evaluating differences in the clinical impact of a free online weight loss programme, a resource-intensive commercial weight loss programme and an active control condition: a parallel randomised controlled trial
Author(s): Innes, Aidan Q
Thomson, Greig
Cotter, Mary
King, James A
Vollaard, Niels
Kelly, Benjamin M
Keywords: Weight loss
Weight reduction programs
Issue Date: 2019
Citation: Innes AQ, Thomson G, Cotter M, King JA, Vollaard N & Kelly BM (2019) Evaluating differences in the clinical impact of a free online weight loss programme, a resource-intensive commercial weight loss programme and an active control condition: a parallel randomised controlled trial. BMC Public Health, 19, Art. No.: 1732.
Abstract: Background: Finding effective intervention strategies to combat rising obesity levels could significantly reduce the burden that obesity and associated non-communicable diseases places on both individuals and the National Health Service. Methods: In this parallel randomised-controlled trial, 76 participants who are overweight or obese (50 female) were given free access to a fitness centre for the duration of the 12-week intervention and randomised to one of three interventions. The commercial intervention, the Healthy Weight Programme, (HWP, n = 25, 10/15 men/women) consisted of twelve 1-h nutrition coaching sessions with a nutritionist delivered as a mixture of group and 1 to 1 sessions. In addition, twice-weekly exercise sessions (24 in total) were delivered by personal trainers for 12 weeks. The NHS intervention (n = 25, 8/17 men/women) consisted of following an entirely self-managed 12-week online NHS resource. The GYM intervention (n = 26, 8/18 men/women) received no guidance or formal intervention. All participants were provided with a gym induction for safety and both the NHS and GYM participants were familiarised with ACSM physical activity guidelines by way of a hand-out. Results: The overall follow-up rate was 83%. Body mass was significantly reduced at post-intervention in all groups (HWP: N = 18, − 5.17 ± 4.22 kg, NHS: N = 21–4.19 ± 5.49 kg; GYM: N = 24–1.17 ± 3.00 kg; p < 0.001) with greater reductions observed in HWP and NHS groups compared to GYM (p < 0.05). Out with body mass and BMI, there were no additional statistically significant time x intervention interaction effects. Conclusions: This is the first study to evaluate the efficacy of both a free online NHS self-help weight-loss tool and a commercial weight loss programme that provides face-to-face nutritional support and supervised exercise. The findings suggest that both interventions are superior to an active control condition with regard to eliciting short-term weight-loss. Trial registration: ISRCTN Registry - ISRCTN31489026. Prospectively registered: 27/07/16.
DOI Link: 10.1186/s12889-019-8061-x
Rights: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Licence URL(s):

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
s12889-019-8061-x.pdfFulltext - Published Version794.31 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

This item is protected by original copyright

A file in this item is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons

Items in the Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

If you believe that any material held in STORRE infringes copyright, please contact providing details and we will remove the Work from public display in STORRE and investigate your claim.