Graduate Program

Nutrition and Dietetics

Date of Award

2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Author's Department

Family and Consumer Sciences

First Advisor

Nichole Hugo

Abstract

Over the past decade, mobile technology has been developed in the hopes of improving health outcomes, especially related to weight loss. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a smartphone application as a supplementary weight loss tool among highly motivated individuals. Twenty-five individuals over the age of 18 were included in the study based on BMI and participation in a Midwest weight-loss clinic. Intervention group participants (n = 13) were instructed to use the MyFitnessPal app to monitor food intake and receive SMS-style nutritional messages. The control group (n = 12) received no mobile-based intervention, but was not limited on their own use of the technology. All participants attended weekly nutrition counseling sessions at the clinic. Qualitative and quantitative measures were used to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention. At the end of the four-week study, the amount of weight lost compared between groups was minimal. App use decreased among intervention group participants; however, more than half of the control group (n = 7) reported app use throughout the study. The nutritional messages were well-received by the intervention group and a positive correlation was found between message use and weight loss. Although varied outcomes were determined, mobile technology should not be disregarded as an effective weight loss tool. Many participants reported positive feedback in regards to the app and more notably the nutritional messages, suggesting that mobile-based weight-loss interventions should consider the motivation levels and preferences of the individuals who are using them.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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