Daily Self-Monitoring of Body Weight, Step Count, Fruit/Vegetable Intake, and Water Consumption: A Feasible and Effective Long-Term Weight Loss Maintenance Approach

Published:April 25, 2012DOI:


      Maintenance of weight loss remains a challenge for most individuals. Thus, practical and effective weight-loss maintenance (WTLM) strategies are needed. A two-group 12-month WTLM intervention trial was conducted from June 2007 to February 2010 to determine the feasibility and effectiveness of a WTLM intervention for older adults using daily self-monitoring of body weight, step count, fruit/vegetable (F/V) intake, and water consumption. Forty weight-reduced individuals (mean weight lost=6.7±0.6 kg; body mass index [calculated as kg/m2] 29.2±1.1), age 63±1 years, who had previously participated in a 12-week randomized controlled weight-loss intervention trial, were instructed to record daily body weight, step count, and F/V intake (WEV [defined as weight, exercise, and F/V]). Experimental group (WEV+) participants were also instructed to consume 16 fl oz of water before each main meal (ie, three times daily), and to record daily water intake. Outcome measures included weight change, diet/physical activity behaviors, theoretical constructs related to health behaviors, and other clinical measures. Statistical analyses included growth curve analyses and repeated measures analysis of variance. Over 12 months, there was a linear decrease in weight (β=−0.32, P<0.001) and a quadratic trend (β=0.02, P<0.01) over time, but no group difference (β=−0.23, P=0.08). Analysis of the 365 days of self-reported body weight for each participant determined that weight loss was greater over the study period in the WEV+ group than in the WEV group, corresponding to weight changes of −0.67 kg and 1.00 kg, respectively, and an 87% greater weight loss (β=−0.01, P<0.01). Overall compliance to daily tracking was 76%±5%. Daily self-monitoring of weight, physical activity, and F/V consumption is a feasible and effective approach for maintaining weight loss for 12 months, and daily self-monitoring of increased water consumption may provide additional WTLM benefits.


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      J. D. Akers, PhD, RD; is an assistant professor, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA; at the time of the study, he was a doctoral student at Virginia Tech.


      R. A. Cornett is a dietetic intern, University of Virginia, Charlottesville; at the time of the study, she was a master's student at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg.


      J. S. Savla is an assistant professor, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg.


      K. P. Davy is a professor, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg.


      B. M. Davy is an associate professor, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg.