University of Bath

Struggling to exercise and lose weight? Participate in our study and let us help

If you are aged between 40 to 65, overweight and not currently exercising, take part in our study and receive a personalised diet and exercise plan.

A woman running down a road
The research will help you be more active

Why we’re running this study

Staying at a healthy body weight and doing enough exercise are challenging for many people. These things may sound simple but they are actually very complex. We know that weight loss and exercise have lots of health benefits, but we still don’t know exactly how and why they work. This study will help us find out more about how diet and exercise affect health through changes in metabolism and friendly bacteria in the gut.

In this study, we’re going to use a personalised diet and exercise programme to reverse the effects of weight gain and a sedentary lifestyle. We can use this as a model to look at factors which may make some people more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

Take part

To be eligible you need to be:

  • male or post-menopausal female
  • aged between 40 and 65 years
  • have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of between 25 and 40 kg/m2 (calculate your BMI)
  • currently not exercising regularly
  • have a waist size of more than 80 cm if you are female or more than 94 cm if you are male

What's involved

You will need to visit the University of Bath on several occasions over four weeks to take part.

On your first two visits, we will assess whether you are able to participate, complete a health screen, and collect some baseline measurements using state-of-the-art equipment. These visits will be separated by one week during which we will ask you to wear a small device to monitor your physical activity and use a food diary to record your diet.

You will then be randomly assigned to either the control or the intervention group. The intervention group will receive a personalised diet and exercise plan created using their baseline measurements. This group will be provided with an exercise programme based around using a treadmill five times a week for three weeks at a moderate intensity, tailored to each individual’s level of fitness. One exercise session per week will be supervised by a member of the research team, and we will provide an activity monitor to record the remaining sessions.

The diet plan will keep the types of food and drink the same as your normal diet, but simply reduce the quantity of each item by a moderate amount to encourage weight loss.

If you are assigned to the control group you will be asked to simply maintain your normal diet and physical activity for three weeks. Both groups will be required to visit the University again before and after their three-week trial period for testing.

After your trial has finished, if you were assigned to the control group you will be given the opportunity to receive exactly the same personalised diet and exercise plan as the intervention group but without any further testing.

Sign up to take part in this study

What you'll receive for taking part

Participants who are eligible and complete the full requirements of the study will receive:

  • individualised feedback from experts on several measurements including body composition, fitness and diet to help you further improve your health
  • a personalised diet and exercise plan
  • reimbursement of travel expenses
  • three months free gym membership (including the month of prescribed exercise)
  • £50 worth of high street vouchers

More about the study

This study is part of a series investigating how diet and exercise affects metabolism and gut health and is supported by grants from the Medical Research Council (MRC).

'This study will allow us to explore new mechanisms behind the development of type 2 diabetes and will also help us to identify new markers for the early diagnosis of insulin resistance. This can have important consequences for individuals at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Participants will follow a fully personalised diet and exercise plan which we know has important health benefits from previous studies performed by our team in the Department for Health. Therefore participants in this study will contribute to an important medical research study at the same time as benefiting from our expertise in nutrition and metabolism. In return for their time and effort we will help them to better understand their physiological needs and how small changes in their diet and lifestyle can help them to control their weight and improve their health.' Dr Francoise Koumanov