January 28, 2018
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Daily food tracking less frequent on weekends, over time

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Christine Pellegrini
Christine A. Pellegrini

Adults with obesity participating in a weight-loss intervention were less likely to record their food intake on weekends compared with during the week and to track their consumption over time, according to findings published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

Christine A. Pellegrini, PhD, assistant professor in the department of exercise science in the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina and adjunct assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University, and colleagues evaluated data on 31 adults with obesity (90% women; 42% black; mean age, 40.7 years; mean BMI, 34.7 kg/m2) to determine within-person variation in dietary self-monitoring during a 6-month technology-supported weight-loss trial.

The weight-loss intervention encouraged a 7% weight-loss goal and a calorie goal of 1,200 kcal to 2,000 kcal per day based on starting body weight and moderate-intensity physical activity for 175 minutes per week. Participants attended weekly in-person group sessions during weeks 1 to 8; they were encouraged to self-monitor all food and drink consumption during months 1 to 6 in the ENGAGED smartphone app.

During the 6-month intervention, participants recorded an average of 8.3 food items, 1,116 calories and 32.9 g of fat per day.

Participants tended to record fewer foods with each successive day of the intervention (P < .01) as well as on the weekends (Thursday through Sunday) compared with Monday. Compared with October, more foods were recorded in January; however, no seasonal effect was observed.

“Individuals who are self-monitoring as part of a weight-loss program may benefit from additional reminders to keep track of everything they consume over the weekends,” Pellegrini told Endocrine Today. “The evidence shows that individuals who self-monitor consistently lose the most weight; thus, any strategy that could be used to promote self-monitoring could help someone modify their diet and lose more weight. ... We are unable to determine if adults in this study were eating less over the weekends or if they were just not recording everything due to interruptions in their weekday routines. Research is needed to develop methods or technologies that can objectively detect and measure when someone is eating, what someone is eating, and how much he/she is eating.” – by Amber Cox

For more information:

Christine A. Pellegrini, PhD, can be reached at c-pellegrini@northwestern.edu.

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.