Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,  in collaboration with researchers at the University of British Columbia and the University of Leeds are seeking men and women age 18-75 who are overweight and interested in participating in a weight loss research study.


About the research study

  • A total of 360 participants will be enrolled in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom
  • The study will last approximately 13 months (for each participant) and the weight loss programs being studied are free
  • The study is investigating the effectiveness of a commercial weight loss program that is widely available in the community (Weight Watcher Freestyle®)
  • Eligible participants who enroll will be randomly assigned to follow the Weight Watchers program OR to receive resources to help them follow a 'do-it-yourself' (DIY) approach to weight loss based on personal preferences and lifestyle, over a 12 month period
  • Both groups will be asked to make changes to their diet, physical activity and lifestyle in order to lose weight
  • If you are eligible and enroll in the study, you will be asked to attend 4 appointments at the research center.  During 3 of these, you will be asked to complete surveys and physical measurements (at the beginning, after 3 months and after 12 months)
  • At the end of the study, both groups will be offered the resources provided to the other group (12 months of Weight Watchers or DIY resources)
  • Participants will receive up to $175 for completing the 3 measurement visits


You must meet all eligibility criteria to participate, including:

  • 18 - 75 years old
  • Body Mass Index (BMI)  is 25 - 45 kg/m2  (Check your BMI)
  • You have a smartphone and can download and use an app on it
  • If you are female, you are not pregnant, planning to become pregnant in the next 12 months, or less than 6 months post-partum
  • You live or work within 30 miles of the study center
  • You are able to attend weekly Weight Watchers meetings if you are assigned to that study group
  • You do not have any health history or conditions that would make participating in this study unsafe or unreasonable (this will be assessed by completing the screening questionnaires)

Please do not submit more than one screening survey.  It may take a few days for you to be contacted depending upon the number of individuals who are interested in participating.

Enrollment is currently open to men only.  We have met our recruitment targets for women.