Friday, November 21, 2008

Self Weighing Could Help Teens Achieve Healthy Weight Control

“Overweight teens who weigh themselves at least once a week are more likely to engage in other healthy weight control measures than teens who step on the scale less frequently, according to a new small study. Self-weighing can be a successful tool for adults, but some concern exists that recommending the behavior could backfire with teens who struggle with obesity. ‘The fear is that an excessive focus on weight from frequent self-weighing may place teens at greater risk for engaging in unhealthy weight control behaviors and for developing an eating disorder,’ said Mary Alm, Ph.D., lead study author, with the University of Minnesota. However, that was not the case for study participants. The study, published online in the Journal of Adolescent Health, followed the behavior of 130 teens who were in the 85th percentile for body mass index (BMI) during the past two years. Of the teens, 43 percent weighed themselves frequently and 57 percent were infrequent self-weighers. Frequent self-weighers had a lower average weight, 180.3 pounds, whereas the infrequent weighers averaged 187.6 pounds. Frequent weighers were more likely to have lost 10 pounds in the past two years. The study also suggests that frequent self-weighers tend to eat fewer calories, consume less fatty food and junk food, and are more likely to stick to a structured diet.”

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