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The impact of participant mental health on attendance and engagement in a trial of behavioural weight management programmes: secondary analysis of the WRAP randomised controlled trial.

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Mueller, Julia 
Sharp, Stephen J 
Vincent, Ann 
Duschinsky, Robbie 


BACKGROUND: Low attendance and engagement in behavioural weight management trials are common. Mental health may play an important role, however previous research exploring this association is limited with inconsistent findings. We aimed to investigate whether mental health was associated with attendance and engagement in a trial of behavioural weight management programmes. METHODS: This is a secondary data analysis of the Weight loss referrals for adults in primary care (WRAP) trial, which randomised 1267 adults with overweight or obesity to brief intervention, WW (formerly Weight Watchers) for 12-weeks, or WW for 52-weeks. We used regression analyses to assess the association of baseline mental health (depression and anxiety (by Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale), quality of life (by EQ5D), satisfaction with life (by Satisfaction with Life Questionnaire)) with programme attendance and engagement in WW groups, and trial attendance in all randomised groups. RESULTS: Every one unit of baseline depression score was associated with a 1% relative reduction in rate of WW session attendance in the first 12 weeks (Incidence rate ratio [IRR] 0.99; 95% CI 0.98, 0.999). Higher baseline anxiety was associated with 4% lower odds to report high engagement with WW digital tools (Odds ratio [OR] 0.96; 95% CI 0.94, 0.99). Every one unit of global quality of life was associated with 69% lower odds of reporting high engagement with the WW mobile app (OR 0.31; 95% CI 0.15, 0.64). Greater symptoms of depression and anxiety and lower satisfaction with life at baseline were consistently associated with lower odds of attending study visits at 3-, 12-, 24-, and 60-months. CONCLUSIONS: Participants were less likely to attend programme sessions, engage with resources, and attend study assessments when reporting poorer baseline mental health. Differences in attendance and engagement were small, however changes may still have a meaningful effect on programme effectiveness and trial completion. Future research should investigate strategies to maximise attendance and engagement in those reporting poorer mental health. TRIAL REGISTRATION: The original trial ( ISRCTN82857232 ) and five year follow up ( ISRCTN64986150 ) were prospectively registered with Current Controlled Trials on 15/10/2012 and 01/02/2018.



Engagement, Mental health, Obesity, Prevention, Weight loss, Adult, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Humans, Mental Health, Quality of Life, Surveys and Questionnaires, Weight Loss, Weight Reduction Programs

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Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
MRC (MC_UU_00006/6)
MRC (2138783)
Department of Health (via National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)) (RP-PG-0216-20010)
MRC (unknown)
The WRAP trial was funded by the National Prevention Research Initiative through research grant MR/J000493. The intervention was provided by WW (formerly Weight Watchers) at no cost via an MRC Industrial Collaboration Award. Five year follow up of the WRAP trial was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) under its Programme Grants for Applied Research Programme (RP-PG-0216-20010). RAJ, ALA, SJG, and SJS are supported by the Medical Research Council (MRC) (Grant MC_UU_00006/6). The University of Cambridge has received salary support in respect of SJG from the National Health Service in the East of England through the Clinical Academic Reserve. All funding bodies had no role in the design of the study and collection, analysis and interpretation of the data, and in the writing of the manuscript.