The Choosing Healthy Options of Starches (CHOOS) diet and dietary intake self-monitoring for weight loss among adolescent females

Mary Ellen Herndon, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Previous research has shown dietary intake self-monitoring, and culturally tailored weight loss interventions to be effective tools for weight loss. Technology can be used to tailor weight loss interventions to better suit adolescents. There is a lack of research to date on the use of personal digital assistants (PDAs) to self-monitor dietary intake among adolescents. The objective of this study was to determine the difference in dietary intake self-monitoring frequency between using a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) or paper logs as a diet diary in obese adolescent females; and to describe differences in diet adherence, as well as changes in body size and self-efficacy to resist eating. We hypothesized dietary intake self-monitoring frequency would be greater during PDA use than during paper log use. This study was a randomized crossover trial. Participants recorded their diet for 4 weeks: 2 weeks on a PDA and 2 weeks on paper logs. Thirty-four obese females ages 12-20 were recruited for participation. Thirty were included in analyses. Participants recorded more entries/day while using the paper logs (4.10 entries/day ± 0.63) than while using the PDA (3.01 entries/day ±0.75) (p<0.001). Significantly more meals and snacks were skipped during paper log use (0.81/day ± 0.65) than during PDA use (0.23/day ± 0.22) (p=0.011). Changes in body size (BMI, weight, and waist circumference) and self-efficacy to resist eating did not differ significantly between PDA and paper log use. When compared to paper logs, participants felt the PDA was more convenient (p=0.020), looked forward to using the PDA more (p=0.008), and would rather continue using the PDA than the paper logs (p=0.020). The findings of this study indicate use of a PDA as a dietary intake self-monitoring tool among adolescents would not result in increased dietary intake self-monitoring to aid in weight loss. Use of paper logs would result in greater data returned to clinicians, though use of PDAs would likely get adolescents more excited about adhering to recommendations to record their diet. Future research should look at updated communication devices, such as cell phones and other PDAs with additional features, and the role they can play in increasing dietary intake self-monitoring among adolescents.

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Recommended Citation

Herndon, Mary Ellen, "The Choosing Healthy Options of Starches (CHOOS) diet and dietary intake self-monitoring for weight loss among adolescent females" (2010). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1483398.