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  • Status:: Analysis

Around 1 in 4 people in the UK are seriously overweight (obese). Being obese makes it more likely that a person will develop diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer. Extra body weight also puts a strain on muscles and joints, making it difficult and sometimes painful to move around.

The aim of the DROPLET study, conducted in 2015-2017 was to investigate whether a GP referral of patients who are obese to a commercial low-energy total diet replacement (TDR) programme, could help these people to lose more weight than a weight loss programme provided by the practice nurse. 278 participants were recruited from GP practices across Oxfordshire CCG.

The participants who were assigned to the TDR programme lost on average 10.7 kg after one year, compared with those assigned to the nurse advice who lost on average 3.1 kg, which resulted in an average difference between the groups of 7.2 kg in favour of the TDR group. These results clearly demonstrate that TDR is clinically effective at 1 year, and the health benefits are largely commensurate with the weight losses observed. However, there are concerns that a rapid weight loss may be followed with rapid regain, which could negate some of the health benefits. A better understanding of the longer-term effects on weight and health outcomes will help to determine whether the treatment is a cost-effective option in the longer term.

The aim of this study is to contact the original participants in the DROPLET trial to invite them to enrol in this study and to attend a new appointment about 3 years from their original randomisation visit to measure body weight and collect other information on their health and weight control efforts.


Study design Observational follow-up of participants from a randomised controlled trial
Sponsor University of Oxford
Ethical approval 19/SC/0012
Chief Investigator Professor Susan Jebb
Main point-of-contact Dr Nerys Astbury