Examination of nutrition literacy and quality of self-monitoring in behavioral weight loss

Diane L. Rosenbaum, Margaret H. Clark, Alexandra D. Convertino, Christine C. Call, Evan M. Forman, Meghan L. Butryn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background Few have examined nutrition literacy (i.e., capacity to process and make informed nutritional decisions) in behavioral weight loss. Nutrition literacy (NL) may impact necessary skills for weight loss, contributing to outcome disparities. Purpose The study sets out to identify correlates of NL; evaluate whether NL predicted weight loss, food record completion and quality, and session attendance; and investigate whether the relations of race and education to weight loss were mediated by NL and self-monitoring. Methods This is a secondary analysis of 6-month behavioral weight loss program in which overweight/obese adults (N = 320) completed a baseline measure of NL (i.e., Newest Vital Sign). Participants self-monitored caloric intake via food records. Results NL was lower for black participants (p < .001) and participants with less education (p = .002). Better NL predicted better 6-month weight loss (b = -.63, p = .04) and food record quality (r = .37, p < .001), but not food record completion or attendance (ps > 0.05). Black participants had lower NL, which was associated with poorer food record quality, which adversely affected weight loss. There was no indirect effect of education on weight loss through NL and food record quality. Conclusions Overall, results suggest that lower NL is problematic for weight loss. For black participants, NL may indirectly impact weight loss through quality of self-monitoring. This might be one explanation for poorer behavioral weight loss outcomes among black participants. Additional research should investigate whether addressing these skills through enhanced treatment improves outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)809-816
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Aug 16 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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