Reducing weight and increasing physical activity in people at high risk of cardiovascular disease: a randomised controlled trial comparing the effectiveness of enhanced motivational interviewing intervention with usual care

Heart. 2020 Mar;106(6):447-454. doi: 10.1136/heartjnl-2019-315656. Epub 2019 Dec 12.


Objective: The epidemic of obesity is contributing to the increasing prevalence of people at high risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), negating the medical advances in reducing CVD mortality. We compared the clinical and cost-effectiveness of an intensive lifestyle intervention consisting of enhanced motivational interviewing in reducing weight and increasing physical activity for patients at high risk of CVD.

Methods: A three-arm, single-blind, parallel-group randomised controlled trial was conducted in consenting primary care centres in south London. We recruited patients aged 40-74 years with a QRisk2 score ≥20.0%, which indicates the probability of having a CVD event in the next 10 years. The intervention was enhanced motivational interviewing which included additional behaviour change techniques and was delivered by health trainers in 10 sessions over 1 year, in either group (n=697) or individual (n=523) format. The third arm received usual care (UC; n=522). The primary outcomes were physical activity (mean steps/day) and weight (kg). Secondary outcomes were changes in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and CVD risk score. We estimated the relative cost-effectiveness of each intervention.

Results: At 24 months, the group and individual interventions were not more effective than UC in increasing physical activity (mean difference=70.05 steps, 95% CI -288.00 to 147.90 and mean difference=7.24 steps, 95% CI -224.01 to 238.50, respectively), reducing weight (mean difference=-0.03 kg, 95% CI -0.49 to 0.44 and mean difference=-0.42 kg, 95% CI -0.93 to 0.09, respectively) or improving any secondary outcomes. The group and individual interventions were not cost-effective at conventional thresholds.

Conclusions: Enhancing motivational interviewing with additional behaviour change techniques was not effective in reducing weight or increasing physical activity in those at high CVD risk.

Keywords: behaviour change techniques; cardiovascular disease; lifestyle intervention; motivational interviewing; physical activity; primary care; weight loss.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivational Interviewing*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss*