PHILADELPHIA, PA – Keeping a tab on your weight is not a bad thing but recent study finds that always looking at your weight on a scale too often may have harmful effect on your mental health.
A team of researchers from the University of Minnesota followed the self-weighing habits of over 1,900 young adults for their Project EAT (Eating and Activity in Teens and Young Adults).
They discovered that those who self-weighed more often also had higher chances of weight concern and depression. Such people also have a low body satisfaction and self-esteem especially among women.
Carly R. Pacanowski, PhD, RD, lead author of the study, stated that women who agreed that they engaged in frequent self-weighing also confirmed dangerous weight-control patterns at a rate of 80%.
Pacanowski added that teenage obesity is a common health issue, however body dissatisfaction and concern for weight are clues of eating disorders. This has made it important for obesity-prevention steps to stop making matters worse by finding out how issues like self-weighing affect adolescents.
Project EAT is a cohort research studying 1,902 adolescents including 43% male and 57% female over the course of a decade. Scientists used the descriptions made by members regarding how often they engaged in self-weighing.
Researchers examined the relation between self-weighing and weight changes, along with psychological effects and behavioral alterations. Ideal weight, weight worry, self-weighing, self esteem, body satisfaction and depressive symptoms were given a ranking by participants using a Likert scale.
Teenagers also informed about their involvement in unhealthy and very unhealthy habits. Researchers then evaluated the BMI for the participants.
The most important factor in this study was understanding how involvement in self-weighing was linked to alterations in other components that were also examined. Findings of the study suggested that women reporting more self-weighing behaviors during a decade had a higher risk of weight concern resulting in depression. They also suffered low body satisfaction and lower self-esteem.
Self-weighing, though, is not necessarily a harmful behavior but one should be careful about the frequency of how often they check their weight. This is especially true for young adults.
Pacanowski concluded that doctors must make it a point to question young patients about self-weighing during office visits to find out any advantages or negative reporting. She said that making a note of this behavior consistently may assist in investigating more damaging changes in the psychological health of young adults.