Daily self-weighing and adverse psychological outcomes: a randomized controlled trial.

Journal Article

BACKGROUND: Despite evidence that daily self-weighing is an effective strategy for weight control, concerns remain regarding the potential for negative psychological consequences. PURPOSE: The goal of the study was to examine the impact of a daily self-weighing weight-loss intervention on relevant psychological constructs. DESIGN: A 6-month RCT. SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: The study sample (N=91) included overweight men and women in the Chapel Hill NC area. INTERVENTION: Between February and August 2011, participants were randomly assigned to a daily self-weighing intervention or delayed-intervention control group. The 6-month intervention included daily self-weighing for self-regulation of diet and exercise behaviors using an e-scale that transmitted weights to a study website. Weekly e-mailed lessons and tailored feedback on daily self-weighing adherence and weight-loss progress were provided. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Self-weighing frequency was measured throughout the study using e-scales. Weight was measured in-clinic at baseline, 3 months, and 6 months. Psychological outcomes were assessed via self-report at the same time points. RESULTS: In 2012, using linear mixed models and generalized estimating equation models, there were no significant differences between groups in depressive symptoms, anorectic cognitions, disinhibition, susceptibility to hunger, and binge eating. At 6 months, there was a significant group X time interaction for body dissatisfaction (p=0.007) and dietary restraint (p<0.001), with the intervention group reporting lower body dissatisfaction and greater dietary restraint compared to controls. CONCLUSIONS: Results indicate that a weight-loss intervention that focuses on daily self-weighing does not cause adverse psychological outcomes. This suggests that daily self-weighing is an effective and safe weight-control strategy among overweight adults attempting to lose weight. TRIAL REGISTRATION: This study is registered at clinicaltrials.gov NCT01369004.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Steinberg, DM; Tate, DF; Bennett, GG; Ennett, S; Samuel-Hodge, C; Ward, DS

Published Date

  • January 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 46 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 24 - 29

PubMed ID

  • 24355668

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1873-2607

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.amepre.2013.08.006


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Netherlands