Jingle all the weigh: a behavioural intervention to prevent weight gain over Christmas

It’s becoming a bit of a tradition for me to post about an article from the fabulous Christmas BMJ with a spurious link to infection (see 2016 [depressing] and 2017’s [uplifting] version here). This year, it’s a short-term behavioural intervention to prevent weight gain over Christmas. And the links to infection: obesity is a big (!) risk factor for all-things-infection, and we’re all about achieving meaningful and sustained behaviour change.

I confess my trousers are feeling ever-so-slightly tighter than usual this morning after the usual indulgences over Christmas. Enter this clever little randomised controlled trial of a behavioural intervention to prevent weight gain over Christmas. Obese adults were approached to be randomised to a simple intervention to prevent weight gain over Christmas, consisting of:

  • Regular weight monitoring
  • 10 tips for weight management
  • Nutritional info on festive foods

A control group received a brief leaflet about healthy lifestyle choices. And the result – the intervention group lost a bit of weight, and the control group gained a bit, and there was a statistically significant -0.5 kg mean difference in weight (comparing the intervention to the control group).

It’s good to see a randomised trial with an important clinical outcome that clearly was not massively resource intensive – we can learn from this in the world in infection. And what a fantastic visual abstract – I hope to see many more of these during 2019!

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