Condition category
Nutritional, Metabolic, Endocrine
Date applied
Date assigned
Last edited
Retrospectively registered
Overall trial status
Recruitment status
No longer recruiting
Publication status

Plain English Summary

Background and study aims
Research has shown that genes play a big part in how easily people gain weight. People can find out if they have genes which put them at higher risk for gaining weight by using genetic tests. These tests are available over the internet. However, it is currently not known whether receiving personal results from these tests is useful.
The aim of this study is to find out whether giving people their personal genetic result for risk of weight gain motivates them to try and keep a healthy weight. We will investigate this in young adults at the beginning of university, because weight gain is common in students.

Who can participate?
First year university students, aged between 18 and 25 years, enrolled at University College London, who agree to take part in a larger study will be invited to participate.

What does the study involve?
They will be randomly (i.e. by chance) split into two groups:
One group will receive their personal genetic test result for one gene (FTO) related to risk of weight gain alongside a leaflet with simple weight gain prevention advice.
The other group will receive only the leaflet containing simple weight gain prevention advice. Participants receiving only the leaflet will receive their genetic test result at the end of the study. The study will run over the course of the academic year. We will look at whether people who receive their test result and the leaflet are more motivated to prevent weight gain than people who just receive the leaflet.

What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
Benefits of taking part include learning about personal genetic risk of weight gain (based on one gene), and receiving advice on how to keep a healthy weight.
There is little risk involved in participation, and we will be available to answer any questions or concerns. We will also conduct interviews to find out more about participants’ thoughts and feelings after receiving their genetic test result.

Where is the study run from?
The study will take place at University College London.

When is study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
The study started in September 2010 and will run till September 2013.

Who is funding the study?
Cancer Research UK

Who is the main contact?
Prof Jane Wardle

Trial website

Contact information



Primary contact

Prof Jane Wardle


Contact details

Health Behaviour Research Centre
Department of Epidemiology and Public Health
University College London
1-19 Torrington Place
United Kingdom

Additional identifiers

EudraCT number number

Protocol/serial number


Study information

Scientific title

Adding genetic test feedback to advice on weight gain prevention for young adults : a randomized controlled trial


Study hypothesis

Participants receiving personal genetic test feedback for risk of weight gain in addition to generic weight gain prevention advice will be more motivated to prevent unhealthy weight gain than those receiving generic weight gain prevention advice alone.

Ethics approval

University College London Ethics Committee, Sept 2010, ref: 2471/003

Study design

Open two-arm individually randomized controlled trial

Primary study design


Secondary study design

Randomised controlled trial

Trial setting


Trial type


Patient information sheet

Not available in web format, please use the contact details below to request a patient information sheet


Prevention of weight gain


Feedback group: Providing personal genetic risk status of the fat mass and obesity (FTO) associated gene implicated in weight gain + a leaflet containing generic weight loss prevention advice.

No Feedback group: Only leaflet with generic weight gain prevention advice (feedback returned at end of year).

High risk of contamination between groups prevented us to include a 'Control' group which receives neither genetic feedback nor leaflet.

Intervention type



Not Applicable

Drug names

Primary outcome measure

Self-reported motivation to prevent weight gain immediately after receiving genetic test feedback, assessed with several statements relating to weight gain prevention (Likert scale)

Secondary outcome measures

1. Self-reported motivation at follow-up
2. Self-reported efforts to prevent weight gain at follow-up
3. Body fat and weight change from baseline to follow-up, assessed by weighing and bioelectrical impedance
4. Interactions between feedback condition and gene test status

Overall trial start date


Overall trial end date


Reason abandoned (if study stopped)


Participant inclusion criteria

All interested first year students between ages 18 and 25 from University College London, who are able to give consent

Participant type


Age group




Target number of participants


Participant exclusion criteria

1. Inability to consent
2. Not aged between 18 and 25

Recruitment start date


Recruitment end date



Countries of recruitment

United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

Health Behaviour Research Centre
United Kingdom

Sponsor information


University College London (UK)

Sponsor details

Gower Street
United Kingdom

Sponsor type




Funder type


Funder name

Cancer Research UK (CRUK) (UK) (C1418/A10843)

Alternative name(s)


Funding Body Type

private sector organisation

Funding Body Subtype

Other non-profit organizations


United Kingdom

Results and Publications

Publication and dissemination plan

Not provided at time of registration

Intention to publish date

Participant level data

Not provided at time of registration

Basic results (scientific)

Publication list

1. 2012 protocol in
2. 2015 results in

Publication citations

  1. Protocol

    Meisel SF, Beeken RJ, van Jaarsveld CH, Wardle J, Genetic test feedback with weight control advice: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial., Trials, 2012, 13, 235, doi: 10.1186/1745-6215-13-235.

Additional files

Editorial Notes

01/10/2018: Publication reference added.