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To find out more about what strategies people use to manage their weight and how these might be related to weight loss success.

Why is this important?

Overweight and obesity are a major cause of preventable illness and death throughout the world. Estimates vary by country, but suggest that at any one time over a quarter of British and American adults are trying to lose weight. Most people who are trying to lose weight do it on their own. Unfortunately, in a lot of these cases people don’t lose as much weight as they want to, or lose the weight but put it back on. Relatively little is known about what strategies people managing their weight on their own can use to increase their chances of success, so we set out to find out more.


This study asks overweight or obese people who are trying to manage their weight about the strategies that they are using. For example, this could include things like weighing yourself regularly, having an exercise buddy, or keeping unhealthy foods out of the house.

Anyone  aged18 or older who is trying to lose weight through diet and/or exercise, and has access to the internet, can sign up. Participants are asked to visit the study website as frequently as they like. On the website, they can enter their weight and tell us what they are doing to try to manage their weight. We will use their answers to test if there is any association between the strategies people report using and changes in their weight.

Members of the public helped us decide which questions we ask in this study. Members of the charity Weight Concern advised us on the design of this study and helped test the original survey. 

How could this benefit patients?

We hope that the results might give us some clues about what strategies seem to work well, and about what strategies don’t seem to work. Eventually, this could help healthcare practitioners to give better advice to people who want to manage their weight and help researchers to design better weight management interventions.

Further information:

Full project title:

Oxford Food and Activity Behaviours (OxFAB study)

Length of the project:

This study started in January 2015. It will continue into 2016.



NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) Oxford

External collaborators:

We are grateful for advice from:

Further information: