Evaluating the feasibility of a web-based weight loss programme for naval service personnel with excess body weight.
Garip G., Morton K., Bridger R., Yardley L.
BACKGROUND: Overweight and obesity are a major concern that may influence the operational capacity of the UK Naval Service (NS). This study was conducted to evaluate the feasibility of trialling and implementing a modified web-based weight loss programme for overweight and obese NS personnel. METHODS: The feasibility of a web-based weight loss programme with minimal face to face support was evaluated using a non-randomised design, based on the Reach, Efficacy, Adoption, and Implementation (RE-AIM) dimensions of a framework designed for analysing implementation of interventions in practice. RESULTS: It was estimated that 6% (n = 58) of eligible NS personnel at recruitment sites were reached, based on personnel's expressions of interest to take part in the study. The potential efficacy of the intervention was evaluated by analysing participants' change in weight (kg) in the two groups. Forty-three participants were allocated to the intervention (n = 21) or control group (n = 22). Website usage was low, with 1.5 sessions accessed on average, over a 12-week follow-up. Changes in body weight over 12 weeks appeared to be observed for participants in the intervention group but not in the control group. The average weight loss observed in the intervention group (mean = -1.9 kg, SD = 2.1) appeared to reach significance, 95% CI [-2.8, -1.0], whereas no significant weight loss was apparent among control group participants (mean = -0.8 kg, SD = 3.8), 95% CI [-2.4, 0.8]. However, this feasibility study was not powered to test for within or group differences. Recruitment rates varied across five NS establishments invited to take part in the study, suggesting that the web-based weight loss programme was not adopted to the same extent across all bases. The online programme was not implemented as intended in terms of regular usage by participants and support provision by physical training instructors. CONCLUSION: The results suggest that the intervention may warrant further investigation provided that engagement with the intervention by both staff and participants can be improved.