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Daily Monitoring and Support May Aid in Weight Loss Goals

By Editor, March 28, 2012

The Health Day News reported some interesting and encouraging findings following a study conducted on 210 overweight or obese adults. The participants of the study were asked to track an assortment of daily weight-loss-related activities in a personal weight loss diary. Using a paper diary, an electronic diary that provided no feedback, or an electronic diary with daily feedback, participants were asked to make regular daily entries regarding calorie intake, fat intake, daily exercise, energy levels, and attendance at group support meetings. The participants who kept an electronic diary with feedback received daily messages of encouragement regarding diet and one message every other day regarding exercise.

The findings of the study indicate that the group of participants receiving daily feedback were more successful in adhering to daily calorie goals, daily fat intake goals, exercise goals, and group meeting goals. They were also more successful in recording the data on a daily basis.

"The results suggest that using an electronic diary improves treatment adherence," study author Lora Burke, a professor of nursing and epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, said in an AHA news release.

"Over time, participants' adherence declined, particularly in the later phase as contact frequency declined and subsequently ended," she said. "Adherence in the paper-diary group declined more than in the device groups."

 

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Six months into the study the group that used the electronic devices providing feedback recognized individual weight loss success of over 5%. However, twenty-four months into the study all three of the study groups ultimately recognized similar weight loss results. Researchers noted that as time passed those participants who used the electronic devices with feedback became less committed to using them and ultimately stopped using them all together. One would conclude that the declining results of that once-more-successful group hinged on the diminished use of the electronic devise that provide them with feedback.

Furthermore, one might look at the study and contemplate that if participants were stimulated to continued adherence to the use of the electronic device with feedback their more successful weight loss results may have been sustained. One must also acknowledge that a 5% reduction in body weight is a success and may have significant benefits to one's health. 

 

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