A new study in the International Journal of Obesity examines the effect over 12 months of the SWiM-C weight management programme. The results show that while the effect of SWiM-C on weight was inconclusive, it improved health behaviours and wellbeing. This research is from the Prevention Group which spans the MRC Epidemiology Unit and Primary Care Unit within Cambridge Population Health Sciences.
The SWiM-C (Supporting Weight Management during COVID-19) programme was funded by NIHR and the European Association for the Study of Obesity. It is an online guided self-help programme to support adults living with obesity during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. This psychological approach helps people accept uncomfortable feelings, like food cravings, so that they can act in ways that are important to them, like eating healthily.
The study is a randomised controlled study. Researchers randomised 388 adults living with overweight or obesity to the SWiM-C programme or to standard advice. They then measured changes in weight, health behaviours and wellbeing at 4 and 12 months.
Over 12 months, SWiM-C participants lost more weight than the standard advice group, but we are unsure if this was due to SWiM-C or random chance.
Compared to the standard advice group, SWiM-C participants reported:
- greater increases in physical activity
- greater reductions in emotional eating
- greater reductions in overeating
- greater willingness to tolerate uncomfortable feelings in pursuit of their goals
SWiM-C participants maintained their wellbeing throughout the 12 months, whilst the standard advice group experienced a reduction in wellbeing at 4 months.
Find out more
- Supporting Weight Management during COVID-19 (SWiM-C): Twelve-month follow-up of a randomised controlled trial of a web-based, ACT-based, guided self-help intervention. Mueller et al 2022. IJO. DOI: 10.1038/s41366-022-01232-x
- Supporting Weight Management during COVID-19: A randomized controlled trial of a web-based, ACT-based, guided self-help intervention. Mueller et al 2022. Obesity Facts. DOI: 10.1159/000524031
- Visit the SWiM-C study pages
- Download a factsheet about these results: