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Welcome to Game of Stones

Are you a man who wants to lose weight?
This could be just what you’re looking for…


Free and easy


Game of Stones uses text messages to help men lose some weight and keep it off. It couldn’t be simpler; you receive regular text messages over 12 months and you won’t have lots of appointments. Also, because it’s part of a research study, there may even be a little cash involved for helping.

Keep up to date with Game of Stones

Read our latest newsletter here

Our previous newsletter can be read here

Who can take part?

You just have to be a man over 18, living in or around Belfast, Bristol or Glasgow. If your trouser waist is over 40 inches there is a good chance you can join Game of Stones.
Update: As of 27th April 2022, the Game of Stones trial is now full and closed for recruitment. Thanks for all the interest.


More Details

Game of stones is designed for men because men rarely attend the weight loss services that are on offer. We did a trial of Game of Stones in 2017 which showed text messages could help men lose weight and feel better. Now we want to do a bigger study to answer the questions:

- Does Game of Stones really help men lose weight and keep it off?
- Who does it help most?
- What are the costs and benefits for men and the NHS?

What am I signing up for?

Researchers in Glasgow, Belfast and Bristol will sign up 585 men from a variety of backgrounds and places.

You’ll then be allocated by random (like a coin toss) to one of three groups:
- Texts with cash incentives;
- Texts now;
- A12-month waiting list for texts.

Men from all three groups will help us find out what works best for weight loss.

Men in each of the groups will receive regular texts and will attend a maximum of 5 appointments with a researcher over 2 years. All of your information will be kept safe and confidential.

Please click here to listen to Lisa Macaulay, one of the research managers, who explains what taking part in Game of Stones would involve.

You can read more information about what would be involved here.

Here is more detail on data privacy.

Who is running Game of Stones?

Meet your area team:


Game of Stones is led by Professor Pat Hoddinott at the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Research Unit, University of Stirling.

This trial is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Public Health Research Programme. Reference no: NIHR 129703. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.
National Institute for Health Research Logo

Questions & Answers

Click on questions to find out more

What Weight do I need to be to sign up?

Men that have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or over can take part in this research. BMI is a measure of weight by height and our researchers can calculate this for you. You can work it out for yourself here.

Is there a maximum age limit to take part in the trial?

No any man aged 18 or over can take part.

Can I decide which trial group I go in?

No. This is decided randomly by a computer program and is out with the control of the research team

I am a woman, can I take part?

Unfortunately, this trial is aimed specifically at men but if you are interested in weight loss, please see NHS advice

How will Covid-19 affect my participation in this trial?

We will follow all relevant government and local guidelines on Covid-19 in this trial, including measures such as physical distancing and face masks.

Who should I contact for more information about taking part?

Please email us on or contact your local centre in Belfast , Bristol or Glasgow