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Photo Diaries can help Dieters with Weight Loss, Study Finds

Update Date: Jan 18, 2016 10:18 AM EST

Overweight or obese people who are having difficulty losing weight should consider keeping a photo diary.

According to a new study out of the University of Alicante (UA) in Spain, people who are following a weight-loss program can benefit from keeping a photo diary that allows them to see their progress over time.

The purpose of the research, which was headed by Isaac Elías Kuzmar Daz, who is a medical professional from Colombia and a recent PhD student from UA, was to examine the motivation levels in people who were on weight-loss programs. A total of 271 people from Barranquilla, Colombia (233 were women and 38 were men) were enlisted in the study. The participants were between the ages of 15 and 80.

Throughout the 16-week long program, the patient's body mass index (BMI), weight-to-hip ratio, food intake and percentage of weight-loss were all measured each week . Full body pictures were also taken each week.

Overall, 100 patients dropped out and/or failed the study. 90 percent of the patients between the ages of 16 and 72 completed the entire treatment course. 71.3 percent of the people from that group had achieved their weight loss goals by the end of week 16. When examining motivation levels, Kumar found that waist circumference, which was recorded through photographs, was very helpful in getting the participants to continue with the weight-loss program.

"It is very gratifying to literally see yourself get slimmer over time," Mercedes Rizo Baeza commented reported by Medical Xpress. Baeza was Kumer's thesis director.

She added, "What patients want is a photo, rather than cold numbers."

The study's findings were published in PeerJ.

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