Overweight, obese adults use electronic device to stick to diet, exercise

March 15, 2012

Overweight and obese adults who used an electronic diary program on a personal digital assistant did better at staying on diet and physical activity programs, researchers reported at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2012 Scientific Sessions.

People using the device, which provided tailored dietary and exercise feedback messages, were more successful in adhering to five treatment factors for weight loss:

  • attending group sessions;
  • meeting daily calorie goals;
  • meeting daily fat intake goals;
  • reaching weekly exercise goals; and
  • monitoring eating and exercise.
The SMART (Self-Monitoring and Recording with Technology) study included 210 overweight or , 84 percent women, 79 percent white, who used a paper diary, a handheld electronic device without feedback, or a handheld device that provided daily messages.

Those using the did significantly better than those using a paper diary for attendance, self-monitoring and energy and exercise goals.

At six months, the group that received the daily feedback messages from their device had more than a 5 percent weight loss, but over time adherence declined and weight gain occurred.

At 24 months, weight loss was similar across the three groups, but was slightly better in the group receiving feedback.

"The results suggest that using an electronic diary improves treatment adherence," said Lora E. Burke, Ph.D., study author and professor of nursing and epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. "Over time, participants' adherence declined, particularly in the later phase as contact frequency declined and subsequently ended. Adherence in the paper diary group declined more than in the device groups."

recorded their exercise levels and daily food and beverage intakes. Devices displayed the consumed daily calories and fat grams next to targeted amounts. Users with devices providing feedback received messages on diet once a day and every other day.

Thirty-nine group sessions were offered in the first 18 months, followed by one "maintenance" session in the last six months.

More frequent contact during the last half of the trial would have resulted in better adherence, Burke said. The study confirmed that reducing or withdrawing contact leads to weight regain.

The technology used in the study has since been upgraded, but the concept is the same for smartphones and self-monitoring applications, said Burke, who is conducting a study using smartphones to monitor the triggers for relapses.

Explore further: Study finds diet plus exercise is more effective for weight loss than either method alone

Related Stories

Technology can help shed pounds

July 6, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- Anyone who has ever struggled to stick to a restricted diet knows that willpower alone is rarely a successful offense.

Weight loss + exercise helps knees

November 16, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- Weight loss combined with exercise reduces pain and improves mobility in people with knee osteoarthritis, according to research presented by Professor of Health and Exercise Science Steve Messier earlier ...

Recommended for you

A metabolic master switch underlying human obesity

August 19, 2015

Obesity is one of the biggest public health challenges of the 21st century. Affecting more than 500 million people worldwide, obesity costs at least $200 billion each year in the United States alone, and contributes to potentially ...

Scientists probe obesity's ties to breast cancer risk

August 20, 2015

Obesity is a well-known risk factor for breast cancer, but researchers haven't figured out what connects the two. A new study suggests the link may be due to a change in breast tissue structure, which might promote breast ...

Can a new drug brown the fat and trim the obese person?

May 28, 2015

New research has found that a variant of a drug used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension prompts weight loss in obese mice. Among mice fed a high-fat diet, those who did not get the medication became obese while medicated ...

Changing stem cell structure may help fight obesity

February 17, 2015

The research, conducted at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), found that a slight regulation in the length of primary cilia, small hair-like projections found on most cells, prevented the production of fat cells from ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.