Personal digital assistants are comparable to traditional diaries for dietary self-monitoring during a weight loss program

J Behav Med. 2007 Apr;30(2):165-75. doi: 10.1007/s10865-006-9092-1. Epub 2007 Jan 10.


Dietary self-monitoring is considered the core of behavioral weight control programs. As software for personal digital assistants (PDA) has become more available, this study investigated whether the use of a PDA would improve dietary self-monitoring frequency and subsequent weight loss over the use of traditional paper diaries. One-hundred-seventy-six adults (BMI 25-39.9) participated in a 6-month behavioral weight control program. Treatment subjects (n = 61) were provided with a PalmZire 21 with Calorie King's Diet Diary software installed. Their self-monitoring habits and weight loss were compared with the results from a previous program (n = 115) which followed the same protocol using paper diaries for self-monitoring. No significant differences in weight loss or dietary self-monitoring were found. More frequent self-monitoring correlated with weight loss in both groups (p<.001). People seeking to lose weight should be encouraged to self-monitor and be matched with a mode of self-monitoring that is fitting to their lifestyle and skills.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Behavior Therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Computers, Handheld*
  • Diet Records*
  • Diet, Reducing / psychology*
  • Energy Intake
  • Exercise / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Patient Compliance / psychology
  • Self Care*
  • Software
  • Weight Loss*