Self-monitoring using digital health tools linked to weight loss

Greater engagement in self-monitoring using digital health tools may help you with significant weight loss, says a new study.

The study, published in the journal Obesity, indicated that digital self-monitoring was linked to weight loss in 74 per cent of occurrences.

“This may be because many digital tools are highly portable, and therefore allow the user to track any time of the day; digital tools also may make tracking quicker, and may be less burdensome to use,” said researcher Michele L. Patel from Stanford University in the US.

For the study, the team included 39 randomized controlled studies of behavioural weight loss interventions for adults with overweight or obesity problems using digital health technologies for self-monitoring.

Six databases were searched for studies that included interventions 12 weeks or longer in duration, weight outcomes six months or longer and outcomes on self-monitoring engagement and their relationship to weight loss.

Among the 67 interventions with digital self-monitoring, weight was tracked in 72 per cent of them, diet in 81 per cent and physical activity in 82 per cent.

Websites were the most common self-monitoring technology tools followed by apps, wearables, electronic scales and text messaging.

Digital self-monitoring was linked to weight loss in 74 per cent of occurrences, the team said.

This pattern was found across all three major behaviours that are tracked — dietary intake, physical activity and body weight, the researchers said.