NOF/Weight Watchers Research Award - 2011

This year’s winner of the NOF/Weight Watchers Research Award is Dr Mira Mojee, stuff a Clinical Psychologist from Glasgow and Clyde’s Weight Management Service.  Mira plans to develop a new intervention for ‘significant others’ (family members or friends) of obese people attending an established NHS weight management service.

There is clear evidence that support is an essential element of weight loss success. However, prescription there is little practical help for those closest to the people who are struggling to lose weight.

Mira intends to fill this gap and her starting point will be some qualitative research to delve into the views and needs of those at the centre of their weight loss journey.  This will provide the vital insight on which to base her intervention targeted at significant others.


Helping People Change

Dr Mira Mojee wins Research Award from NOF and Weight Watchers to examine weight control effects of intervention with ‘nearest and dearest’.

Support key to weight loss success
Support is a crucial part of the weight loss journey, which is often arduous and described by many as a constant battle (ESRO, 2010). It is not surprising that input from family and friends is key to success and research backs this up (NICE 2006). But do our nearest and dearest know what to say and do to help their loved one keep on track? Could an intervention to enhance the knowledge and skills of ‘significant others’ influence weight loss outcomes?

New research study targeting ‘nearest and dearest’
This is the question which has baffled Dr Mira Mojee and has prompted her to set out on an innovative research programme to explore all of this. Mira has great credentials as a clinical psychologist attached to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Weight Management Service (GCWMS). Through her many interviews with patients struggling to lose weight she understands the realities of weight loss and has insights into the perceptions of those who surround her patients participating in Glasgow’s structured weight management programme.  She is keen to find out whether strengthening the support network around these patients has any tangible effect on their efforts to change their eating and physical activity habits.

Drafting the protocol
Mira is currently refining her research plans. Her hypothesis is that ‘significant others’ do require and would welcome input to upskill their support strategies. She will pilot an intervention specifically designed for this group of secondary players. Whilst the initial focus of her research is qualitative analysis to test how such an intervention might work; she also plans to collect some numerical data to see if there are any indicators of effect on weight loss outcomes amongst her patients attending the existing weight management programme offered by GCWMS . 

Timescale of research
First stop is the ethics committee submission. Following this it will be down to fieldwork, which Mira will conduct in the New Year, with the assistance of a part time research assistant. If all goes to plan then she hopes to present preliminary data ready at next year’s NOF conference in October 2012

We wish her luck.

If you would like more information about Mira’s research, then you can contact her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Ethnographic Social Research Options (ESRO) (2010) Maximising the appeal of weight management services. A report for the Department of Health and Central Office of Information.
National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (2006) Obesity: The prevention, identification, assessment and management of overweight and obesity in adults and children. NICE: London