A large percentage of people struggle to maintain weight after weight loss


Using eHealth design to facilitate weight maintenance following initial weight loss

Project period



Oslo University Hospital and Vestfold Hospital. Applying for external funding.

Project summary

Obesity is a substantial public health problem worldwide and Norway is no exception. Obesity rates are rapidly increasing, and even with diets and interventions aiding weight loss, an alarmingly large percentage of people struggle to maintain the lost weight. In the face of obesity, weight maintenance is therefore arising as a major obstacle and new innovative approaches are called for.

eHealth is an emerging field at the intersection of health services, information technology, public health and medical informatics. Technology is now a natural part of most people’s lives in the form of smartphones, tablets and personal computers. So far, there are some indications that using web-based interventions as supplement to face-to face interventions can support weight loss. Despite the fact that a substantial number of web-based diets, health and fitness focused interventions or “apps” already exist, few focus on weight maintenance, are research based or available post study. In addition, most have yet to show short- or long-term effect and few, if any, are developed together with users (e.g., patients, health care professionals). eHealth solutions may therefore be “a missing link” in supporting weight loss and maintenance, utilizing digital communication and even social media to induce motivation and bring about durable health behavior change anytime and anywhere.

The goal of this project is to establish a person-centered, evidence based interactive eHealth intervention facilitating weight maintenance following weight loss.
The proposed study has 3 main objectives:

  1. Establishment: Design, develop, pilot test and optimize an eHealth intervention
  2. Efficacy confirmation through a multicenter, randomized controlled trial (RCT)
  3. Evaluate the sustained intervention use through program assessment, cost-utility analysis and implementation preparation

The intervention will be guided by user-identified needs and requirements, bringing together and creating synergies between patient users, service providers and scientists from study initiation to implementation.

The project aligns with several healthcare trends, operating in the cross-section of health and care services, service innovation, technology, digitalization, economics and implementation. A person-centered approach through service design and participatory design methods will be used. The intervention will be developed through iterative process and in close collaboration with patient representatives, service providers, scientists and other relevant stakeholders.

The research team is well prepared for this research project, and the alliance of interdisciplinary experts from leading national and international research and expertise centers within eHealth and Morbid Obesity, in close collaboration with user representatives, facilitates high quality science from development to testing and preparation for implementation. If effective, this intervention has the potential to contribute to better health, reduced societal burden and most importantly to improve quality of life for people facing obesity and related health challenges.


  • Serena Tonstad, MD, MPH, PhD, Chief physician, Professor

    Endocrinology, Morbid Obesity & Preventive Medicine, Oslo University Hospital

  • Jens Kristoffer Hertel, PhD, Head of research

    Morbid Obesity Centre, Vestfold Hospital Trust

  • Line Kristin Johnson, PhD, Nutritionist

    Morbid Obesity Centre, Vestfold Hospital Trust

  • Mette Svendsen, PhD, Nutritionist

    Endocrinology, Morbid Obesity & Preventive Medicine, Oslo University Hospital

  • Eirik Abildsenes, MD, PhD

    Family Medicine / Public Health, Kristiansand Municipality

  • Unni Mette Stamnes Köpp, MD, PhD, Chief Physician

    Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Sorlandet Hospital Trust

  • Frode Gallefoss, MD, PhD, Head of Research

    Hospital Clinical Research Unit, Sorlandet Hospital Trust

  • Mirjam Smedsrød, MA, Director

    Regional Patient Education Resource Center, Sorlandet Hospital Trust

  • Mari-Mette Graff, Manager

    Norwegian Association for people with Obesity

  • Matthew M. Clark, LP, ABPP, PhD, Professor

    Dept. of Psychiatry & Psychology / Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, Mayo Clinic

  • Saskia M. Kelders, PhD, Assistant Professor

    Center for eHealth & Wellbeing Research, University of Twente

  • Mirjam Ekstedt, PhD, Professor

    System Safety in Health Care Group, Medical Management Centre, Karolinska Institutet

  • Tonje Holte Stea, PhD, Associate Professor

    University of Agder

  • Una Stenberg, PhD, Senior researcher

    Learning & Mastery Health, Norwegian National Advisory Unit

  • Milada Cvancarova Småstuen, PhD, Associate professor

    Oslo Metropolitan University