Weighing yourself frequently can lead to depression, especially in women, a new research suggests. Also, past studies have proved that checking your weight every time you eat, drink, or go to the bathroom isn’t an effective way to monitor weight, as it naturally fluctuates during the day.
Researchers from the University of Minnesota conducted a 10-year study on more than 1,900 young adults, tracking their self-weighing behaviors. The subjects are part of Project Eating and Activity in Teens and Young Adults (EAT). Of the total 1,902 subjects, 43 percent were male, as the majority -57 percent- was female.
“Females who strongly agreed they self-weighed reported engaging in extremely dangerous weight-control behaviors at a rate of 80 percent,” said lead author Carly Pacanowski, according to the Economic Times.
Scientists used the participants’ descriptions of the prevalence of their self-weighing to find possible links between the habit and observable changes in the weight status, psychological consequences and behavioral symptoms.
Several variables, such as self-weighing, ideal weight, weight concern, self-esteem, depressive symptoms and body satisfaction were ranked by the subjects of the study, using a Likert scale.
A survey was first performed to participants, asking them how much they agree with the following statement: “I weigh myself often”, or “I think a lot about being thinner and I am worried about gaining weight,” according to the Huffington Post.
Additional to that, researchers calculated the body-mass index (BMI) of each participant. Adolescents also reported tendencies towards unhealthy behaviors related to their weight.
Pacanowski added that adolescent obesity is a matter of public health concern in the U.S. and that these symptoms and behaviors such as weight concerns could predict further eating disorders in teenagers and young adults.
By studying them for over ten years, scientists were able to correlate changes in their weight with possible changes seem in the other variables mentioned. Pacanowski believes that clinicians should ask patients about these habits at office visits, to determine possible positive or negative outcomes.
Nevertheless, self-weighing is proved to be a healthy habit on adults, as a way to keep track of their health and possible avoiding further complications that come in older age.
Source: Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior