A pilot study designed to evaluate a new approach to weight loss and physical activity in people with increased cardiovascular risk has been funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the Department of Health’s national health research funding scheme.
The Waste the Waist study is a collaboration between the Peninsula Medical School in Exeter, the University of Bath, Deakin University in Australia and Bath & North East Somerset PCT (BANES PCT) – the study has received funding of £240,000 from the NIHR.
Waste the Waist is based on the highly successful LIFE! Programme which has benefited thousands of people in Melbourne, Australia. It is the latest state-of-the-art programme for supporting weight loss and a healthier lifestyle and mirrors the recommendations of the recently released European guidelines for the prevention of type 2 diabetes (to which the Peninsula Medical School was a contributor). It aims to encourage and support at risk individuals to implement behaviour change, resulting in positive alterations to their lifestyle in areas such as physical activity and diet. The pilot study will work with and assess 50 NHS patients from BANES PCT.
Previous studies have shown that those with cardiovascular conditions such as heart disease and diabetes can make a huge difference to their rates of recovery by making even small positive changes to their lifestyle. The more changes in diet and physical activity they make, the better the results – among people at risk who made just four or five lifestyle changes the rate of progression to type 2 diabetes was reduced to zero per cent.
The pilot study will evaluate the Waste the Waist programme to ensure that the methods and procedures for assessing its impact will work as intended. For example, the pilot study will monitor ways to ensure that individuals do not drop out of the programme for preventable reasons, such as poor communication of the level of effort required. Once the pilot study is complete, the study team plans to conduct a large trial to assess the impact and value for money of the programme.
BANES PCT will be inviting selected NHS patients to take part in the pilot study from 15th November.
Dr. Colin Greaves, Senior Research Fellow into Primary Health Care at the Peninsula Medical School and who is part of the Waste the Waist study team, commented:
“The developed world is, potentially, heading towards crisis as the result of the impact of lifestyle-related disease – and at the top of the list of such diseases sits type 2 diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases. Lifestyle interventions have been proven to work and the potential savings of such interventions to healthcare budgets are immense – it is estimated that diabetes now accounts for up to 18 per cent of total healthcare expenditure in Europe and costs an estimated £9 billion per year in the UK. Getting a programme such as Waste the Waist to work will mean that it can be implemented across the UK as a value for money option for local health authorities, resulting in fewer at risk individuals developing lifestyle-related disease and reductions in cost to health care providers. We are excited to be working with colleagues in Bath and Australia to make this happen.”
It is predicted that one in 10 Europeans aged 20-79 will have developed diabetes by 2030. Its reach is growing – once a disease of old age, diabetes is now affecting adolescents and children and the highest increase is in the 30-40 year old age group. Diabetes now accounts for up to 18 per cent of total healthcare expenditure in Europe and costs an estimated £9 billion per year in the UK.
Information about the National Institute for Health Research, the Department of health’s national health research funding scheme, is available at – www.nihr-ccf.org.uk/site/programmes/rfpb/default.cfm.