Can a well-established weight management programme help people with long COVID and overweight/obesity?

General Practice and Primary Care's Dr David Blane and School of Medicine colleague Professor Emilie Combet have been awarded £1 million by the National Institute for Health Research to lead the Remote Diet Intervention to REduce long Covid symptoms Trial (ReDIRECT).

Photo of person standing on weighing scales

A multi-disciplinary research team will test whether a well-established weight management programme, delivered and supported entirely remotely, can improve symptoms for people with long COVID and overweight/obesity. 

The team will work closely with overweight people who are experiencing long COVID to adapt and evaluate the weight management programme. 200 people will be identified through their GP, and patient and community groups. A key feature of the trial will be its use of a personalised primary outcome measure, with participants nominating the main symptom they would like to improve.

Half of the participants will receive the personalised, professionally-supported weight management programme, while the other half receives usual care, with a goal to compare long COVID symptoms, weight loss, quality of life and value for money after six months. The control group will also receive the intervention, after a six-month delay. Experiences of both groups will be documented for 12 months.

Commenting on the work that lies ahead, David Blane said: 

"We’re delighted to be doing this research, working closely with people affected by long COVID. We know that people with long COVID are frustrated by the lack of treatment and support options currently available."

IHW co-investigators include Professor Kate O’Donnell, Professor Alex McConnachie, Professor Emma McIntosh and Dr Tracy Ibbotson, who will co-ordinate the patient and public involvement (PPI) input from Long COVID Scotland

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First published: 21 September 2020

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