Self-weighing potential health risk for young adults
Is it healthy for young adults to weigh themselves frequently? That’s what researchers with Project Eat at the University of Minnesota wanted to learn, so they studied more than 2,000 adults with an average age of 25.
Virginia Quick, one of the researchers in the study, explains the results.
“What we found were that young adults who weighed themselves a few times a week or more were at increased risk or associated with more frequency of unhealthy weight-control behaviors,” Quick said. She added that it is also associated with healthy weight-control behaviors, “unhealthy muscle-enhancing substance use behaviors, and also poor psychological well being.”
Public Health Moment
[powerpress url="http://www.advances.umn.edu/audio/Frequent_self-weighing_unhealthy_for_young_adults1.mp3"]Listen to Quick on Public Health Moment
Health care providers should take note
Quick said that before recommending self-weighing as a weight-monitoring tool, health care providers should screen young adults to ensure that they are not at risk of unhealthy weight behaviors.
“We really encourage health care providers to screen young adults for some of these unhealthy psychological behaviors that may be occurring. So, they could be weighing themselves more frequently and that could be associated with some of these poor health outcomes,” Quick said.
“I believe one of the most important messages, take-home messages, is really that your weight on the scale doesn’t measure your overall health and well being. There are other ways to measure your overall health and well being.”
About the Study
Data were drawn from Project EAT-III (Eating and Activity in Teens and Young Adults), the third wave of a population-based study. Participants included young adults (n = 2,287, mean age = 25.3 years) from the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area.
The study found that self-weighing a few times per week or more frequently was reported by 18 percent of young adult women and 12 percent of young adult men. Linear regression models, adjusted for body mass index and demographic characteristics, indicated that in both women and men, more frequent self-weighing was associated with a higher prevalence of dieting, both healthy and unhealthy WCBs, and muscle-enhancing behaviors. Additionally, young women who reported more frequent self-weighing were more likely to report binge eating. More frequent self-weighing was also associated with more depressive symptoms and lower self-esteem in women and lower body satisfaction in young men.