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Dr Colin Greaves

Associate Professor in Psychology Applied to Health
University of Exeter Medical School

Waste the Waist.

A pilot study designed to evaluate a new approach to weight loss and physical activity in people with metabolic syndrome was awarded £240,000 funding from the Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) programme, obtained with RDS support. Metabolic syndrome is a condition affecting approximately 1 in 5 people in the UK and is defined by a combination of risk factors associated with obesity and diabetes.

The Waste the Waist study is a collaboration between the Peninsula Medical School in Exeter, the University of Bath, Deakin University in Australia and Bath & North East Somerset PCT (B&NES PCT).

Waste the Waist is based on the highly successful LIFE! Programme which has benefited thousands of people in Melbourne, Australia. It is the latest state-of-the-art programme for supporting weight loss and a healthier lifestyle and mirrors the recommendations of the recently released European guidelines for the prevention of type 2 diabetes. It aims to encourage and support at risk individuals to implement behaviour change, resulting in positive alterations to their lifestyle in areas such as physical activity and diet. The pilot study will work with and assess 50 NHS patients from B&NES PCT.

Previous studies have shown that those with cardiovascular conditions such as heart disease and diabetes can make a huge difference to their rates of recovery by making even small positive changes to their lifestyle. The more changes in diet and physical activity they make, the better the results - among people at risk who made just four or five lifestyle changes the rate of progression to type 2 diabetes was reduced to zero per cent.

The pilot study will evaluate the Waste the Waist programme to ensure that the methods and procedures for assessing its impact will work as intended. For example, the pilot study will monitor ways to ensure that individuals do not drop out of the programme for preventable reasons, such as poor communication of the level of effort required.

Once the pilot study is complete, the study team plans to conduct a large trial to assess the impact and value for money of the programme.