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Social facilitation maintenance treatment for adults with obesity: study protocol for a randomised-controlled feasibility study (SFM study)
  1. Anja Hilbert
  1. Department of Medical Psychology and Medical Sociology, Integrated Research and Treatment Center AdiposityDiseases, University of Leipzig Medical Center, Leipzig, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Professor Anja Hilbert; anja.hilbert{at}


Introduction The long-term success of non-surgical weight loss treatment in adults with obesity is limited by substantial relapse, and only a few evidence-based weight loss maintenance treatments exist. This clinical trial investigates the feasibility and efficacy of a social facilitation maintenance programme for weight loss maintenance, tailored to meet the needs of obese adults who have undergone a lifestyle weight loss intervention.

Methods and analysis In a single-centre, open feasibility trial, 72 adults currently or previously obese or overweight who have undergone a lifestyle weight loss intervention are centrally randomised to 4 months of social facilitation maintenance treatment or treatment as a usual control condition. In 16 outpatient group sessions, the social facilitation maintenance treatment, based on a socioecological model and on evidence supporting social facilitation as a key process in maintaining weight loss, focuses on promoting interpersonal relationships to build up a healthy lifestyle for long-term weight loss maintenance. Primary outcome is the amount of weight regain at 6-month follow-up, compared with pre-treatment weight, derived from measured body weight. Secondary outcomes address feasibility, including recruitment, attrition, assessment non-completion, compliance and patients' programme evaluation; and in comparison with pre-weight loss maintenance, social and interpersonal functioning, eating behaviour and physical activity, psychological and physical symptoms, body composition and risk of comorbidity, and quality of life at post-treatment and follow-up assessments.

Ethics and dissemination The study was approved by the Ethical Committee at the University of Leipzig (165-13-15072013). The study results will be disseminated through peer-reviewed publications.

Trial registration number DRKS00005182.

  • Socio-ecological model
  • Weight loss maintenance
  • Interpersonal
  • Social network
  • Randomized-controlled trial
  • Obesity

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