July 7, 2008

Study: Food diaries double weight loss

Keeping a food diary can double a person's weight loss, according to a Kaiser Permanente study.

The study, conducted by Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore., will be published in the August edition of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

In addition to keeping food diaries and turning them in at weekly support group meetings, participants were asked to follow a heart-healthy DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low-fat or non-fat dairy, attend weekly group sessions and exercise at moderate intensity levels for at least 30 minutes a day. After six months, the average weight loss among the nearly 1,700 participants was approximately 13 pounds.

The study was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

Keeping a food diary isn't a new strategy for Kaiser Permanente clinicians and researchers focused on weight management. Since 2002, Kaiser Permanente's Weight Management Initiative has recommended food journaling as a weight-loss strategy. The Weight Management Initiative — part of Kaiser Permanente’s Care Management Institute — unites clinicians, researchers, insurers, and policymakers to identify practical, effective, non-surgical approaches for the prevention and treatment of obesity.