Evidence-Based Digital Tools for Weight Loss Maintenance: The NoHoW Project

R. James Stubbs, Cristiana Duarte (Corresponding Author), António L. Palmeira, Falko F. Sniehotta, Graham Horgan, Sofus C. Larsen, Marta M. Marques, Elizabeth H. Evans, Miikka Ermes, Marja Harjumaa, Jake Turicchi, Ruari O'Driscoll, Sarah E. Scott, Beth Pearson, Lauren Ramsey, Elina Mattila, Marcela Matos, Paul Sacher, Euan Woodward, Marie Louise MikkelsenKirby Sainsbury, Inês Santos, Jorge Encantado, Carol Stalker, Pedro J. Teixeira, Berit Lilienthal Heitmann

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)
    44 Downloads (Pure)


    Background: Effective interventions and commercial programmes for weight loss (WL) are widely available, but most people regain weight. Few effective WL maintenance (WLM) solutions exist. The most promising evidence-based behaviour change techniques for WLM are self-monitoring, goal setting, action planning and control, building self-efficacy, and techniques that promote autonomous motivation (e.g., provide choice). Stress management and emotion regulation techniques show potential for prevention of relapse and weight regain. Digital technologies (including networked-wireless tracking technologies, online tools and smartphone apps, multimedia resources, and internet-based support) offer attractive tools for teaching and supporting long-term behaviour change techniques. However, many digital offerings for weight management tend not to include evidence-based content and the evidence base is still limited. The Project: First, the project examined why, when, and how many European citizens make WL and WLM attempts and how successful they are. Second, the project employed the most up-to-date behavioural science research to develop a digital toolkit for WLM based on 2 key conditions, i.e., self-management (self-regulation and motivation) of behaviour and self-management of emotional responses for WLM. Then, the NoHoW trial tested the efficacy of this digital toolkit in adults who achieved clinically significant (≥5%) WL in the previous 12 months (initial BMI ≥25). The primary outcome was change in weight (kg) at 12 months from baseline. Secondary outcomes included biological, psychological, and behavioural moderators and mediators of long-term energy balance (EB) behaviours, and user experience, acceptability, and cost-effectiveness. Impact: The project will directly feed results from studies on European consumer behaviour, design and evaluation of digital toolkits self-management of EB behaviours into development of new products and services for WLM and digital health. The project has developed a framework and digital architecture for interventions in the context of EB tracking and will generate results that will help inform the next generation of personalised interventions for effective self-management of weight and health.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)320-333
    Number of pages14
    JournalObesity Facts
    Issue number3
    Early online date29 Apr 2021
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • Emotion regulation
    • Information and communication technologies
    • Motivation
    • Obesity
    • Self-regulation
    • Weight loss maintenance


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