Thursday, February 3, 2011

Recording Weight Loss During LOST @ASHA

During our Biggest Loser campaign a year ago, participants recorded their actual weight on our intranet. The system was set up so that no one could see another person's weight. We could just tell if there were missing entries on a team. I could see all the numbers, but I didn't know who to associate any particular weight with. 

This year we decided to borrow more from the Thintervention model and record changes in weight each week. We also decided it would be fun to visually display each teams progress. My colleague, Terry, came up with this fabulous display. Each week, participants weigh in and they record the change in their weight from their starting point (not from the previous week.) If they've lost weight, they display it on a green dot, blue is neutral and red shows a gain. 

There has been some confusion and debate about recording changes in weight from the starting weight versus the previous weeks weight. I decided to use the starting weight because (1) we had a problem with the scale we used Week 1 and I thought it would throw us off, (2) it seemed more encouraging to look at total weight lost during the program, (3) I can easily tally up the numbers and see which team is in the lead and how much weight participants have lost as a group. I can still compare the numbers to the previous week to note weekly weight lost and observe changes in the trend. I also know each team's total starting weight, so we are announcing weekly team winners based on the percentage of weight lost. Like last year, Lifework Strategies will still keep our "official" records. 

Update February 26, 2011: Never again will we have people record changes in their weight. It's caused mass confusion and I have no confidence in the self reported numbers. It was much easier last year when people recorded their actual weight each week. Live and learn... Lifework Strategies completed the midpoint screenings this week. I'll have official numbers from them soon. Stay tuned.

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