America’s obesity epidemic is a major public health issue that costs us billions each year. Though most people know that a healthy diet and regular exercise are integral to weight management, few resources have been available for planning specific, personalized lifestyle modifications to achieve and sustain an individual’s goal weight. Existing online tools and mobile applications have tended to exaggerate weight loss.
Developed by the National Institutes of Health, Body Weight Simulator is the result of scientific advances in nutrition and metabolism that allow for realistic mathematical models of human weight change. This innovative online tool, which has been vetted by the scientific community and is being tested to determine practical utility, accurately predicts body fat and metabolism changes that occur during a diet and/or exercise intervention. Since its launch in August of 2011, the Body Weight Simulator has been accessed online by over 750,000 visitors, has been featured in several major media outlets, and was used in collaboration with United States Department of Agriculture to predict the effectiveness of a sugar-sweetened beverage tax. The simulator represents an important advancement for weight management professionals, policymakers, and researchers to help Americans achieve and permanently maintain a healthy weight.