Assessing the role of biomarker feedback in a 12-week community weight management programme among overweight men: a pilot study

Daniel Grant, Joshua Smith, Lindsay Bottoms

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The primary objective of this study was to examine the feasibility of recruitment, retention, and delivery of biomarker feedback among men partaking in Shape Up, a physical activity for health programme. Secondarily, it explored the potential effects of biomarker feedback on participants’ adherence and motivation levels.

In this two-arm non-randomised pilot study, 46 men (mean±SD age 46.0±8.6 years) participating in the 12-week Shape Up programme were assigned to a control group or biomarker feedback group. Biomarker feedback consisted of 3 blood test panels: at baseline, 12 weeks, and 24 weeks (follow-up), each with a doctor’s report. Both groups completed questionnaires (Short Active Lives Survey [SALS], Treatment Self-Regulation Questionnaire [TSRQ], and EQ-5D-5L) to gauge levels of motivation and engagement. The mean difference was calculated between baseline and programme end. Recruitment, retention, and attendance rates were determined.

Mean recruitment (approach-to-consent), retention, and attendance rates were 96.3%, 92.3%, and 83.7% in the control group, and 85.2%, 86.2%, and 81.5% in the biomarker feedback group, respectively. Of biomarker feedback group participants, 86.4% attended their 12-week blood test and 45.5% attended their follow-up blood test. The mean 12-week differences (95% CI) for the control group and biomarker feedback group were 138.1 (2.7, 273.5) and 467.3 (249.4, 685.2) for active minutes per week, 0.2 (-0.8, 1.2) and 0.4 (0.0, 0.8) for autonomous TSRQ domains, 0.2 (-0.3, 0.8) and 0.8 (0.1, 1.4) for controlled TSRQ domains, and 19 (12.7, 26.5) and 27.2 (19.8, 34.6) for EQ-5D-5L scores, respectively.

Biomarker feedback was well-received by participants and deemed feasible, with high recruitment and retention rates for the duration of the 12-week programme. Biomarker feedback may affect aspects of motivation but did not appear to influence adherence to the programme. Biomarker data may provide additional evidence of programme efficacy. Important design considerations are provided for definitive larger-scale trials.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0299636
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
Early online date28 Mar 2024
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2024


  • Adult
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Feedback
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Overweight/therapy
  • Pilot Projects
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Weight Reduction Programs


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