The Tracking Study: Description of a randomized controlled trial of variations on weight tracking frequency in a behavioral weight loss program

Jennifer A Linde, Robert W Jeffery, Scott J Crow, Kerrin L. Brelje, Carly R Pacanowski, Kara L. Gavin, Derek J. Smolenski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Observational evidence from behavioral weight control trials and community studies suggests that greater frequency of weighing oneself, or tracking weight, is associated with better weight outcomes. Conversely, it has also been suggested that frequent weight tracking may have a negative impact on mental health and outcomes during weight loss, but there are minimal experimental data that address this concern in the context of an active weight loss program. To achieve the long-term goal of strengthening behavioral weight loss programs, the purpose of this randomized controlled trial (the Tracking Study) is to test variations on frequency of self-weighing during a behavioral weight loss program, and to examine psychosocial and mental health correlates of weight tracking and weight loss outcomes. This paper describes the study design, intervention features, recruitment, and baseline characteristics of participants enrolled in the Tracking Study. Methods/design: Three hundred thirty-nine overweight and obese adults were recruited and randomized to one of three variations on weight tracking frequency during a 12-month weight loss program with a 12-month follow-up: daily weight tracking, weekly weight tracking, or no weight tracking. The primary outcome is weight in kilograms at 24 months. The weight loss program integrates each weight tracking instruction with standard behavioral weight loss techniques (goal setting, self-monitoring, stimulus control, dietary and physical activity enhancements, lifestyle modifications); participants in weight tracking conditions were provided with wireless Internet technology (wi-fi-enabled digital scales and touchscreen personal devices) to facilitate weight tracking during the study. Conclusion: This study was successful in recruiting adult male and female participants and is positioned to enhance the standard of care with regard to weight tracking recommendations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-211
Number of pages13
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by NIH Grants R01 DK093586 (J. Linde, PI) and P30 DK50456 (A. Levine, PI). Identifier: NCT01646086.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier Inc.


  • Psychosocial outcomes
  • Self-monitoring
  • Self-weighing
  • Weight loss
  • Weight tracking


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