Using mHealth technology to enhance self-monitoring for weight loss: a randomized trial

Type Article

Journal Article


L. E. Burke; M. A. Styn; S. M. Sereika; M. B. Conroy; L. Ye; K. Glanz; M. A. Sevick; L. J. Ewing

Year of publication



Am J Prev Med








BACKGROUND: Self-monitoring for weight loss has traditionally been performed with paper diaries. Technologic advances could reduce the burden of self-monitoring and provide feedback to enhance adherence. PURPOSE: To determine if self-monitoring diet using a PDA only or the PDA with daily tailored feedback (PDA+feedback [FB]), was superior to using a paper diary on weight loss and maintenance. DESIGN: The Self-Monitoring and Recording Using Technology (SMART) Trial was a 24-month randomized clinical trial; participants were randomly assigned to one of three self-monitoring groups. SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: From 2006 to 2008, a total of 210 overweight/obese adults (84.8% female, 78.1% white) were recruited from the community. Data were analyzed in 2011. INTERVENTION: Participants received standard behavioral treatment for weight loss that included dietary and physical activity goals, encouraged the use of self-monitoring, and was delivered in group sessions. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Percentage weight change at 24 months, adherence to self-monitoring over time. RESULTS: Study retention was 85.6%. The mean percentage weight loss at 24 months was not different among groups (paper diary: -1.94%, 95% CI = -3.88, 0.01; PDA: -1.38%, 95% CI= -3.38, 0.62; PDA+FB: -2.32%, 95% CI= -4.29, -0.35); only the PDA+FB group (p=0.02) demonstrated a significant loss. For adherence to self-monitoring, there was a time-by-treatment group interaction between the combined PDA groups and the paper diary group (p=0.03) but no difference between PDA and PDA+FB groups (p=0.49). Across all groups, weight loss was greater for those who were adherent >/=60% versus