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PROGROUP - acting on obesity together

NIHR - National Institute for Health Research     University of Plymouth    University of Exeter Medical School      University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust


PROGROUP - acting on obesity together


Developing group-based services for people with severe obesity (Developing PROGROUP)


Co-Chief Investigators Professor Jonathan Pinkney of Endocrinology & Diabetes and Dr Mark Tarrant, Senior Lecturer in Psychology Applied to Health have developed a qualitative study to find out how best to run group-based services for people who have severe obesity. This work is in collaboration with University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, University of Plymouth and University of Exeter.


The research is designed to investigate the experiences of those who have been unable to lose weight using other services, but are not ready or prefer not to have bariatric surgery. It will focus on specialist weight management services (known as Tier 3 services). The study will specifically aim to delve into experiences that may influence attitudes to, and engagement with, group care.


Current evidence suggests that when groups are used in treatment, people benefit due to being able to access services sooner as more people are being seen at a time. They are also able to obtain support from others in similar circumstances. However, there is no guidance on the best way to set up and run these groups. To find this out, the research team will interview those involved in; designing group content, training group facilitators, delivering the programmes, managing and commissioning services, and patients who have participated in these programmes.


The results from this study will inform a planned feasibility randomised controlled trial (RCT) that will test a new group based behavioural intervention, known as PROGROUP. Together, these studies, along with a planned definitive RCT, make up a five year project that has received £2.5 million of funding from an NIHR Programme Grant for Applied Research (PGfAR).


Research Team


Professor Jonathan Pinkney - University of Plymouth

Dr Mark Tarrant - Profile | College of Medicine and Health | University of Exeter

Dr Dawn Swancutt - University of Plymouth

Dr Jenny Lloyd - Profile | College of Medicine and Health | University of Exeter

Professor Rod Sheaff - University of Plymouth

Dr Ross Watkins - Profile | College of Medicine and Health | University of Exeter

Dr Shokraneh Oftadeh Moghadam - Profile | College of Medicine and Health | University of Exeter

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