mHealth for Obesity and Diabetes (Starting Motor)

Project Leads
Dr Peter Cudd


A technology that was identified through the Horizon scanning process was that of Aipermon. It has potential for a person to use it on its own OR with the input from professionals, thus offering the opportunity to explore degrees of self-management for weight loss. There were some small scale randomised controlled trial evidence for clinically significant weight loss and average blood glucose (HbA1c) reduction. This intervention and similar ones are not yet implemented as part of standard NHS interventions. The latter is because substantially more quality evidence is needed before this could happen.

tact starting motor

In a cross theme initiative, originally lead by the TaCT and Obseity themes, now joined by the Diabetes theme and external collaborators from the University of Sheffield in the Nutrition Unit and in ScHARR, has led to the development of the Mobile Technology for Obesity Research (or MoTOR) evidence gathering research plan. This plan starts with the feasibility study described below. It is intended that with positive findings this would be escalated to a pilot and then multi-NHS-centre randomised controlled trial.


The primary aim of this study is to investigate the feasibility of a blinded randomised controlled trial of mobile digital technology (AiperMotion 500) supported weight loss intervention/s for obese or overweight Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus people.  In particular to:

  • Explore the acceptability of the technology to participants;
  • Explore participant adherence to using the technology;
  • Explore the participants’ perception of how motivational the technology was.

Project Summary

Obesity and diabetes are well known global and local challenges to clinical services as the population with one or both conditions is growing. This collaborative investigation examines the feasibility of a future trial of the use of a motivational mobile digital device as part of a weight loss intervention for obese or overweight people with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). The AiperMotion 500 is being used as an exemplar only.

Promising clinical results were identified from studies conducted in Germany. For use at all, and in UK clinical settings in particular, there are several issues to address:

  • the results published so far have all been conducted by teams who are directly involved in the development of the intervention so there is potential for bias.
  • whilst clinically significant results are reported, the studies are thought to be statistically underpowered.
  • there may be cultural differences, it is unknown whether British people will agree to use and then adhere to the use of the devices. Also the context of the training on diet and exercise whilst based on the same principles of healthy diets and increased exercise, there are differences.
  • Do more people need external support to lose weight when using the device to motivate their weight loss.

Essentially over a 12 week period people will aim to lose weight, for a further 8 weeks they will at least try to maintain their new weight (although they may choose to continue to lose further weight. The impact can only be seen through comparison and so the study has three arms. The control, where the device is not employed, and the two intervention arms, where self-management use of the device or motivationally supported use of the device is employed. All three arms receive the same UK practice informed education regarding diet and exercise, and twenty people will be recruited to each.

The recruitment website and more information can be found at
Recruitment will occur May- early July 2013.

CLAHRC Project Partners

University of Sheffield