Research: Digital self-monitoring twice as effective as other methods in young men

Research wordResearch word

Technological based self-monitoring may be one key successful means to assist young men with weight loss.

Scale and Tape Measure
Scale and Tape Measure

Young overweight adults around the globe are a huge risk for the diseases caused by obesity. They will spend much of their lives struggling to attain and maintain a healthy weight. Most will try and fail to lose and keep the weight off. If we can find a means to help them make their goal, we will make a massive impact on the cost of their future medical costs and their quality of life as they age.

Young men often silently struggle with obesity. Obese young men have double the mortality risk compared to young men with a healthy weight. This silence or hiding behavior makes this group a challenge to recruit for weight loss programs and research. Any method that could reach this group would be of huge benefit to them and the rest of the world.

This silent group, young men, might prefer self-guided or seld-monitoring interventions. The problem is that there is limited data are available to back the effectiveness of said interventions. New evidence form 2019 appears to support this hypothesis​[1]​. In the study, the researchers conducted an analysis of young men’s performance in a technology-driven behavioral weight-loss trial developed specifically for young adults in which they examined young men’s enrollment rates and compare young men’s and women’s weight loss outcomes and self-regulation behaviors.

The data were drawn from an ongoing randomized controlled trial targeting young adults for weight loss. A total of 104 participants were recruited using a multi-method approach and randomized to one of three groups. All groups received a 6-month technology-mediated intervention with content adapted specifically for young adults. Outcomes of interest included weight change at 3 months and engagement with self-regulation behaviors through the use of Bluetooth scales and a self-monitoring application. The researchers also compared the results in men to those of women.

Young men represented only 17% of enrolled participants. At the 3-month mark, young men manifested nearly twice the weight loss when compared to women. Over the course of the 3-months, engagement with self-regulation behaviors was similar for men and women, but no specific reason could be determined for the increased engagement. In fact, men had a near-identical number of days of self-weighing and fewer days tracking their diet when compared to women.

The bottom line: Men who enroll in behavioral weight loss programs that include self-regulation are twice as successful as their female counterparts despite similar or less engagement. Enrollment is sparse but those that do are more successful. I would suggest a self-guided weight loss program to young males. This research is a product of graduate student research. I would like to see more research on this topic for older males and to clarify why it was less successful in women.


  1. [1]
    J. M. Reading and J. G. LaRose, “Weight Loss and Self-Monitoring among Young Men in a Technology-Driven Weight Loss Intervention,” VCU Graduate Research Posters, 2019 [Online]. Available:
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

Be the first to comment on "Research: Digital self-monitoring twice as effective as other methods in young men"

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.