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Recruitment is now closed for the Nudge study.


Nudge is a free (no fees to participate) weight loss program brought to you by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that is designed to help young adults ages 18-35 adopt healthier eating and activity habits and learn effective ways to manage their weight. The 12-week program is delivered using a study smartphone app, digital health tools, and daily personalized messages. If you are eligible, you have the opportunity to participate in important research to help us understand more about how we can use mobile technologies to help young adults lose weight.  

If you enroll, you will be one of approximately 60 young adults participating in the program.  


You may be eligible if you: 

  • Are currently age 18-35

  • Have a body mass index between 25 and 40 (see here or use the calculator to compute your BMI) 

  • Not exceeding physical activity guidelines

  • Own an iPhone with internet access and text messaging plan 

  • Have home Wi-Fi access  

  • Are willing to attend two visits at the UNC Weight Research Program in Chapel Hill, NC 

 *Additional eligibility criteria apply.


The Nudge program uses a simplified and personalized approach to weight loss. You will use a digital scale to track your weight and a simple way of tracking your foods to help you make positive changes in your eating. You’ll use an activity tracker to help increase your physical activity and daily personalized messages from the study smartphone app that will help you stay on track with your weight goals. 

All participants will be asked to complete online questionnaires and other measurements at the start of the study and after 12 weeks. In addition, participants will need to attend two in-person visits at the UNC Weight Research Program in Chapel Hill, NC. The first visit will be a group session with other participants where you’ll get set up to begin the program. For the second visit, you’ll come back to the office after the 12-week study to complete a brief weight measurement.  


Research shows that young adulthood is a common time for weight gain, and that the weight gained puts you at higher risk for health problems later in life. You may benefit from the program by losing some weight now and learning effective ways to manage your weight so that you can achieve and maintain a healthy weight for years to come. 

Throughout the program you may also benefit by receiving:

  • Professional expertise (health educators, nutritionists, exercise physiologists, psychologists) and information to help you adopt strategies for making changes in your eating and physical activity 

  • Daily messages that give you feedback and strategies to help meet your weight goals  

  • Personalized feedback on your overall progress 

This information is provided to you free of charge as a participant in Nudge. You will receive $20 for completing all study questionnaires and measurements.  

If you are interested in signing up, please go to our online screener below to see if you are eligible to participate.


If you would like to learn more about the Nudge study, please contact us at (919) 966-5852 or email

This study has been reviewed by the IRB (Study #16-0775).