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Game Of Stones Trial Logo


Are you a man who wants to lose weight? This study may be of interest to you…

What is Game Of Stones?

Game of Stones is a research study designed with men for men. It aims to find out if text messages (with and without cash incentives) can help men to lose weight and keep it off.

We did a small study in 2017 to find out what men thought about the Game of Stones study. It showed promise for helping men to lose weight and keep it off. We have written new text messages thanks to feedback from men who took part.

The Game of Stones texts, weight loss targets and website aim to help men to find their own way to lose weight and keep it off.

This research is funded by the National Institute for Health Research’s Public Health Research Programme Ref: NIHR129703.

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Can I take part?

  • Men aged 18 and over
  • Men whose weight could affect their future health. This is when your Body Mass Index (a measure of your weight by height) is 30 or more. Our researchers can calculate this for you. You can also check your BMI if you want to here
  • Are you interested in taking part? Register your interest here and your local research team will be in touch.
  • If you have any questions about the study, please click here.

If you are allreay taking part in the Game Of Stones study and wish to login to the participant area of the website please click here here.


Where can I take part?

Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Key people:


  • Professor Pat Hoddinott


University of Stirling’
Belfast and surrounding areas

Key people:


  • Prof Michelle McKinley


Queens University Belfast’
Bristol and SW Gloucestershire

Key people:


  • Dr Katrina Turner


University of Bristol’

Study news



Trial sites

Latest addition to sites:

Bristol and SW Gloucestershire
Belfast and surrounding areas
Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Facts and Documents

RESEARCHERS IN GLASGOW, BELFAST AND BRISTOL will recruit 585 men who want to lose weight from varied backgrounds. GP practices will send invitation letters and researchers will recruit men at community venues. Men will be allocated by chance to one of three groups: texts with incentives; texts only; and a 12-month waiting list for texts. The full cash incentive is paid at 12 months only if all personal weight loss targets are met when men are weighed at 3, 6, and 12 months.

Some money is lost for each target weight that is not met. Weight loss after 12 months is the main outcome hoped for and men are asked questions about their health quality of life, well-being and experiences. Men are also weighed 1 year later (24 months after the start), a year after the texts stop.


Does Game of Stones help men lose weight and keep it off?
What are the costs and benefits for men and the NHS?
Does this service help men who are less or more well-off?

You can find out more information about taking part in Game of Stones here.

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Contact us

For more information about Game of Stones please email or contact your local Game of Stones team in Glasgow, Belfast or Bristol

Click on cards to find out more

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Questions & Answers

Click on questions to find out more

Who is leading the research?

Professor Pat Hoddinott and a team at the University of Stirling are leading Game of Stones.

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

No. Any man over the age of 18 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 local resources for 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, use of antibacterial hand sanitiser/wipes and face masks.

Who should I contact for more information about taking part?

Please email us on

Funding acknowledgement

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.