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Horizon 2020: NoHoW project: Evidence based ICT solutions for weight loss management

Faculty of Medicine and Health

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Prof J Stubbs No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

The overall objectives of this NoHoW project are:

1. To establish a rigorous evidence-base of how weight is lost and maintained in Europe through representative samples of 2000 European adults who are concerned with their weight and 2000 successful weight loss maintainers.
2. To develop a personalised toolkit of ICT tools, which helps individuals sustain behaviour change and maintain weight loss.
3. To evaluate the impact of the NoHoW Platform on WLM and related health markers, through a randomised controlled intervention in 1002 participants including identifying mediators of successful self-regulation.
4. To evaluate the influence of self-regulation/motivation and stress management and emotion regulation mHealth tools in preventing weight relapse and WLM.
5. To identify predictive signatures of weight relapse and maintenance, thus enabling future users to achieve WLM more effectively.
6. To deploy a sustainable multi-partner ecosystem for sustained WLM across Europe by integrating the work and results of the project in a major commercial weight loss company with global reach (Slimming World™).

NoHoW will engage intensively with relevant stakeholder groups; employ state-of-the-art evidence based behaviour change techniques, tracking technologies and programming capabilities to develop and evaluate a digital toolkit for weight loss maintenance. The web-based toolkit is based on current theories of self-regulation and emotion-regulation, uses personalised tracking technologies and evidence based behaviour change techniques as mediators of dietary and physical activity behaviours and weight control practices. The NoHoW trial is a 2 x 2 RCT (Self-regulation/motivation versus emotion regulation/stress management) over 18 months in 1002 participants at 3 European centres.

The primary outcomes of the trial are change in weight (kg), body composition and health biomarkers (blood pressure, full lipid profile, HbA1c, and hair cortisol).

In addition there are a number of secondary outcomes of the project including:-
1. Proportion of subjects maintaining >0, 5 and 10% weight loss, and drop-out rate.
2. Intervention impact on Physical activity and sleep quantity and quality [questionnaire] and activity meter (Fitbit Charge 2)
3. Dietary intake at 0, 6, 12 and 18 months through 24 hour recalls on four consecutive days within 7-days of each time point.
4. Impact of the interventions on well-being and quality of life.
5. Moderators and mediators of behaviour change.
6. Predictive signatures of weight relapse and maintenance.
7. Process evaluation to investigate and feedback recruitment/reach to maximise recruitment effectiveness, reasons for engagement, continuation and drop out (through questionnaires), user experience and acceptability of the intervention arms (convenience, ease of use, outcomes for themselves and wider social networks) and unintended consequences.
8. Health economics analysis to model costs and effects of the intervention for a lifetime horizon.

In the context of these secondary outcomes there is a need to identify mechanisms that predict long-term success during weight loss and weight loss maintenance. Of particular interest are the psychological and behavioural mediators of energy balance behaviours (eating, activity behaviours and their relationship to longer term weight loss maintenance or weight regain. Therefore, this project will therefore examine biopsychological determinants of weight stability or regain tracked longitudinally over time.

Eligibility and How to Apply

You should hold a first degree equivalent to at least a UK upper second class honours degree in a relevant subject, and a master’s degree in a health sciences research field, such as exercise physiology, health psychology, public health, behaviour change. This project would suit a student with a high level of expertise in energy balance, weight management or the use of behaviour change techniques in applied health interventions.

Candidate whose first language is not English must provide evidence that their English language is sufficient to meet the specific demands of their study, the Faculty minimum requirements are:

• British Council IELTS - score of 6.5 overall, with no element less than 6.0
• TOEFL iBT - overall score of 92 with the listening and reading element no less than 21, writing element no less than 22 and the speaking element no less than 23.

To apply for this scholarship applicants should complete a Faculty Scholarship Application form using the link below and send this alongside a full academic CV, degree transcripts (or marks so far if still studying) and degree certificates to the Faculty Graduate School [Email Address Removed]

We also require 2 academic references to support your application. Please ask your referees to send these references on your behalf, directly to [Email Address Removed] by no later than Friday 3 February 2017.

Any queries regarding the application process should be directed to [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

This studentship will attract an annual tax-free stipend of £14,582 for up to 3 years, subject to satisfactory progress and will cover the UK/EU tuition fees. This funding is provided by the Horizon 2020; NoHoW EU funded collaborative study.
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