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Trying to lose weight? Digital tracking tools help, researcher says

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Stanford, CA — Want to shed a few pounds? Using digital health tools to track your progress can help you reach your goal – no matter what weight loss strategy you use, a researcher from Stanford Health says.

Michele Patel, a postdoctoral scholar at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, reviewed 39 studies published between 2009 and 2019 that involved weight loss monitoring using digital and paper-based tracking of physical activity, food intake and weight. Websites were the most common self-monitoring tool used, followed by mobile apps, electronic scales and text messaging.

Results show that 74% of the time, frequent digital self-monitoring was linked to weight loss. According to Patel, individuals who track diet or physical activity digitally were more engaged and used the tools more consistently, which led to better results.


“We’ve see this rise in digital tools in the last decade, and they provide a great way for people to access interventions to better their health,” Patel said in a press release.

The study was published online in the journal Obesity.

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