Plain English Summary
Background and study aims
Weight loss can be difficult and lots of research has been done to find effective plan for improving weight loss programmes. It has been shown that if participants don't stick to weight loss programmes for long, and don't change their behaviour, weight loss can't be sustained in the long run. In modern weight management programmes, a food diary is a self-monitoring method to record daily diet for nutritionists to look at later. With the help of modern technology, food diaries could help participants to learn how to keep the weight off. The aim of this study was to test if an electronic food diary (the Portal) helped obese people to lose weight effectively.
Who can participate?
The study aimed to recruit 60 adults aged 20-60 with body mass index of 25 or more.
What does the study involve?
Recruited obese subjects were randomly assigned to one of three groups (electronic food diary or paper food diary or control group). Each subject received three sessions with each of 60-90 minutes diet consultations. Bio-measurements of body height, body weight, fat percentage, blood pressure, waist and hip circumference were done before and after the intervention. Exercise was recommended to all subjects in three groups. Eating behaviour, nutritional knowledge and performance at work, sports and leisure activities were measured by questionnaire at the start and end of the project.
What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
Participants had access to a well-organised weight loss programme. An electronic food diary helped them monitor their own food intake. Participating in this study helped scientists see whether the electronic food diary worked, and whether using these could help lower the cost of weight loss programmes in the future. There were no known risks associated with participating.
Where is the study run from?
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
The study started recruitment in July 2011. Participants were recruited for a period of 3 months from September 2011 to November 2011.
Who is funding the study?
The study was funded by the investigators.
Who is the main contact?
Dr. Louisa Chung
Dr Louisa Ming Yan Chung
10 Lo Ping Road
Effectiveness of an electronic food diary in weight reduction: a double-blind randomised controlled trial
It is hypothesised that participants using electronic food diary in tele-dietetics have better weight reduction than the participants using paper food diary and the control group.
The null hypothesis is that there is no difference in weight reduction between the three groups.
Ethics Committee of Hong Kong Polytechnic University, January 2011
Double-blind randomised controlled trial
Primary study design
Secondary study design
Randomised controlled trial
Quality of life
Patient information sheet
Not available in web format, please use the contact details below to request a patient information sheet
Intervention arms: The participants in the paper food diary (FD) and electronic diary (ED) groups recorded their dietary intakes in logbooks and on an electronic diary system, respectively.
Control arm: The participants in the control group (CG) did nothing.
The total duration of treatment was 12 weeks. Measurements of outcome parameters were before the study, week 6 and week 12 (after the study).
Primary outcome measure
1. Body weight
2. Body mass index (BMI)
3. Fat percentage
4. Waist-to-hip ratio (WHR)
5. Mean arterial pressure
Measured before the study, at week 6 and at week 12.
Secondary outcome measures
1. Eating Attitudes Test (EAT) will be used as subjective eating behaviour assessment
2. General Nutrition Knowledge Questionnaire (GNKQ) for adults will be used as objective nutritional knowledge assessment
3. Questionnaire for measurement of habitual physical activity (HPA) will be used for assessment of work, sports and leisure activities.
Measured before the study and at week 12.
Overall trial start date
Overall trial end date
Reason abandoned (if study stopped)
Participant inclusion criteria
1. Aged between 20 and 60
2. Body mass index (BMI) >25
Target number of participants
Participant exclusion criteria
Does not meet inclusion criteria
Recruitment start date
Recruitment end date
Countries of recruitment
Trial participating centre
Investigator initiated and funded (Hong Kong)
Funding Body Type
Funding Body Subtype
Results and Publications
Publication and dissemination plan
Not provided at time of registration
Intention to publish date
Participant level data
Not provided at time of registration
Basic results (scientific)