A new research suggests that self-weighing might have detrimental effects on teenagers.
Self-weighing, though an efficient tool to control one’s weight, might have unwanted repercussions on teenagers. Adolescents and young adults were shown to experience negative psychological outcomes in the study that evaluated the behaviour of over 1,900 participants; the data was collected over a period of 10 years.
Researchers from the University of Minnesota followed the self-weighing behaviour of 1,902 volunteers (43% male, 57% female). They meant to analyse any correlation between self-weighing and features such as changes in weight status, psychological variables, and behavioural outcomes.
Their results indicate links between increases in self-weighing and increases in weight concern and depression as well as lowered body satisfaction and self-esteem in females.
“Females who strongly agreed they self-weighed reported engaging in extremely dangerous weight-control behaviors at a rate of 80%,” says the study’s lead author, Carly R. Pacanowski, PhD, RD. “Adolescent obesity is a public health concern, but body dissatisfaction and weight concerns are predictors of eating disorders. This makes it critical that obesity-prevention programs avoid exacerbating these predictors by understanding how behaviours such as self-weighing affect teens.”
The teenagers also claimed that they would indulge in unhealthy and extreme unhealthy behaviours.
Therefore, the researchers concluded that self-weighing might not be a harmless behaviour, and that, thus, in cases of young adults reporting self-weighing, care should be taken.
“Clinicians should ask adolescent patients about self-weighing at office visits to determine any benefits or negative outcomes,” adds Pacanowski. “Noting changes in this behavior over time can be helpful for investigating other, more concerning changes in well-being among young adults.”