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UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care
Research Department of Behavioural Science and Health

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Ten Top Tips

Primary care is the ‘first port of call’ for weight control advice, creating a need for simple, effective interventions that can be delivered without specialist skills. Ten Top Tips (10TT) is a weight-loss intervention based on habit-formation theory that takes a set of weight management behaviours and gives simple advice in a leaflet format on making them habitual.  We received funding from the National Prevention Research Initiative for a randomised controlled trial to test the effectiveness of 10TT for obese adults (n=537) in primary care. Those who received the 10TT leaflet lost significantly more weight than those who received usual care over the short term (3 months). Furthermore, patients who received the leaflet reported a greater increase in the automaticity of the target behaviours, which suggests 10TT was more effective at establishing new habits.

Over the longer term (2 years), patients maintained the weight they had lost at 3 months but there was no longer a difference in the amount of weight lost between the 10TT and usual care groups. Usual care in most practices included a referral to a commercial programme, such as Weight Watchers, which suggests 10TT is a low-cost, intensity option for long term weight loss. 10TT is also the first habit-based intervention to be used in a health service setting, making this study an important milestone for translational behavioural research. One of our PhD students (Nathalie Kliemann) is currently working with Weight Concern to develop and test a mobile phone app of the Ten Top Tips, which also includes advice on breaking habits.

Principal investigator: Dr Rebecca Beeken

Contact: Rebecca Beeken (r.beeken[at]ucl.ac.uk)

Website: http://www.isrctn.com/ISRCTN16347068

Collaborators: Irwin Nazareth, Rumana Omar & Victoria Vickerstaff (PRIMENT), Stephen Morris, Baptiste Leurent (LSHTM), Weight Concern