New York: Mobile devices that let people track how much they eat and exercise may help them shed weight over and above the benefits of a typical weight-loss program, says a US study. Researchers writing in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that overweight and obese adults lost an average of over eight pounds (3.6kg) more when they had personal digital assistants (PDAs) and occasional phone coaching to help them, in addition to a group programme.
There's no reason to think the same wouldn't hold true for smart phone apps that can log nutrition and activity information, and give real time feedback, they said. "The number one mechanism through which people lost weight is self-monitoring, just watching what you eat and keeping a record of it," said Goutham Rao, who wrote a commentary published with the new study.
Rao, from the NorthShore University HealthSystem in Evanston, Illinois, noted that programs for mobile devices are easily personalized, and readily available wherever people carry their phones or PDAs. The study included 69 overweight and obese people in their late 50s, on average, who were referred to a Veterans Affairs clinic for weight-loss support.
All were enrolled in 12 group sessions over six months, which focused on nutrition, exercise and behavioral changes to promote weight loss. Half of them were also given a PDA to record their food and activity throughout the day.