Cluster randomised trial of a tailored intervention to improve the management of overweight and obesity in primary care in England

Jane Goodfellow, S. Agarwal, F. Harrad, D. Shepherd, T. Morris, A. Ring, N. Walker, S. Rogers, R. Baker

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Background: Tailoring is a frequent component of approaches for implementing clinical practice guidelines, although evidence on how to maximise the effectiveness of tailoring is limited. In England, overweight and obesity are common, and national guidelines have been produced by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. However, the guidelines are not routinely followed in primary care. Methods: A tailored implementation intervention was developed following an analysis of the determinants of practice influencing the implementation of the guidelines on obesity and the selection of strategies to address the determinants. General practices in the East Midlands of England were invited to take part in a cluster randomised controlled trial of the intervention. The primary outcome measure was the proportion of overweight or obese patients offered a weight loss intervention. Secondary outcomes were the proportions of patients with (1) a BMI or waist circumference recorded, (2) record of lifestyle assessment, (3) referred to weight loss services, and (4) any change in weight during the study period. We also assessed the mean weight change over the study period. Follow-up was for 9 months after the intervention. A process evaluation was undertaken, involving interviews of samples of participating health professionals. Results: There were 16 general practices in the control group, and 12 in the intervention group. At follow-up, 15.08 % in the control group and 13.19 % in the intervention group had been offered a weight loss intervention, odds ratio (OR) 1.16, 95 % confidence interval (CI) (0.72, 1.89). BMI/waist circumference measurement 42.71 % control, 39.56 % intervention, OR 1.15 (CI 0.89, 1.48), referral to weight loss services 5.10 % control, 3.67 % intervention, OR 1.45 (CI 0.81, 2.63), weight management in the practice 9.59 % control, 8.73 % intervention, OR 1.09 (CI 0.55, 2.15), lifestyle assessment 23.05 % control, 23.86 % intervention, OR 0.98 (CI 0.76, 1.26), weight loss of at least 1 kg 42.22 % control, 41.65 % intervention, OR 0.98 (CI 0.87, 1.09). Health professionals reported the interventions as increasing their confidence in managing obesity and providing them with practical resources. Conclusions: The tailored intervention did not improve the implementation of the guidelines on obesity, despite systematic approaches to the identification of the determinants of practice. The methods of tailoring require further development to ensure that interventions target those determinants that most influence implementation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number77
JournalImplementation Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2016

Bibliographical note

Trial registration: ISRCTN07457585.
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European Union FP-7 HEALTH-2010 (FP7/2007-2013)


  • cluster randomised trial
  • obesity
  • primary care


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