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Self-Monitoring Key to Weight Loss, Study Finds

Chicago, Ill. (May 30, 2017) – Using technology to self-monitor weight, food intake and physical activity are significant predictors of weight loss, according to research published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

More than one-third of U.S. adults are obese, and $147 billion is spent on obesity-related medical costs per year, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

“Obesity is one of the most serious health issues facing our nation,” said James O. Hill, PhD, co-author and co-founder of the National Weight Control Registry, Professor of Pediatrics & Medicine and Director of the Colorado Nutrition Obesity Research Center at the University of Colorado and Retrofit Scientific Advisory Board Member. “Knowing that self-monitoring increases awareness and contributes to weight loss is important for improving the health of the overall population.”

This retrospective study analyzed how self-monitoring contributes to weight loss for participants in Retrofit, a weight-management program. The study evaluated 2,113 participants enrolled in the program from 2011 to 2015. Participants were males and females aged 18 years or older with a starting body mass index of ≥25 kg/m2. Weight measurements, dietary intake, and physical activity were evaluated to predict weight loss at six months.

The study found that participants in the program lost an average of 5.58 percent of their body weight and reduced their BMI by an average of 1.91 points in 6 months. Weighing in at least three times a week, having a minimum of 60 highly active minutes per week, food logging at least three days per week, and having 64 percent or more weeks with at least five food logs were associated with clinically significant weight loss for both male and female participants.

“This study gives us valuable insights into how to most effectively use self monitoring in weight loss,” said Robert Kushner, MD, MS, co-author and Clinical Director of the Northwestern Comprehensive Center on Obesity. “We can use these predictors of success to personalize weight-loss programs and intervene early when individuals do not exhibit these behaviors.”