The goal of this paper is to provide an overview of the emerging lower-burden mobile dietary self-monitoring approaches and provide a case study highlighting the role that habit formation (regularly logging meals) and burden played in two weight loss interventions examining three different methods of dietary self-monitoring: two lower-burden (wearable device and photo-based) and one higher-burden (standard database app).
A review of the literature of current methods for dietary self-monitoring was conducted. In addition, a case study using data from two different remotely delivered weight loss interventions is presented. Participants (n = 100) were randomly assigned to one of the three mobile diet tracking methods. At 6 weeks, participants were asked seven questions on a Likert scale (1 completely disagree; 7 completely agree) assessing factors such as habit formation (e.g., remembering to use the device).
Several emerging methods of dietary self-monitoring are presented. For the case study, the wearable device (5.0 ± 1.81) and photo-based app (4.0 ± 2.24) participants found it more difficult to remember to use their device than did the standard database app (2.35 ± 1.79; p < 0.001) participants, indicating that habit formation was stronger in the Standard App condition than the approaches that were aimed to be of lower burden.
Gaining a better understanding of the current and innovative approaches to dietary self-monitoring, as well as considering how burden and habit formation may be influencing sustained engagement could help inform future effective dietary interventions.