Background and purpose: The purpose of this project was to evaluate the impact of a calorie tracking and dietary modification activity on students’ perceptions of the challenges associated with weight loss. Educational activity and setting: Students maintained a two-day paper calorie log, then received a weight management lecture, followed by four additional days of calorie tracking using a mobile application. Demographics, self-evaluation of obesity-related knowledge, perceptions on weight loss difficulties, utility of mobile technology, and overall program value were evaluated. Findings: A total of 79% of students completed all three surveys (n = 150). Students’ perceptions regarding their knowledge and comfort with respect to weight loss counseling and dietary modification strategies increased following the lecture and mobile technology-based calorie counting activity. Seventy-eight percent of students either agreed or strongly agreed that this activity was valuable to their professional development while 86% of students agreed or strongly agreed this activity helped them understand the challenges faced by patients trying to lose weight. Discussion: Student attitudes regarding weight loss, including nutritional tracking, and comfort in establishing a weight loss goal, as well as student's perceived knowledge of the types of dietary fats and empathy, all significantly improved over the course of activity participation. This activity improved student pharmacists’ understanding of lifestyle modifications necessary for weight loss, exposed them to novel technologies available to help support patient's weight loss attempts, and provided them with first-hand experience in tracking calories.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
- Calorie counting
- Lifestyle modification
- Mobile technology
- Weight loss