Should Teens Weigh Themselves?

Does frequent self-weighing make adolescents and teens more vulnerable to body image disorders and yo-yo dieting? Researchers recently tried to answer that question in a 5-year longitudinal study called Project EAT, which observed more than 2,500 adolescents. Study participants were divided into two groups: those who were transitioning from early to middle adolescence (the younger cohort) and those who were transitioning from middle to late adolescence (the older cohort).

In the 5-year period, the researchers found that the older cohort of females and both cohorts of males did not gain or lose weight as a result of frequent self-weighing. However, in the younger cohort of females, weight did increase after frequent self-weighing. In both cohorts of women, frequent self-weighing also predicted a higher prevalence of disordered eating behaviors, such as binge eating; however, neither cohort of males was affected in this manner.

Study authors concluded that “frequent self-weighing was not associated with weight change, with the exception of predicting weight changes in younger females. In females, but not males, self-weighing predicted a higher frequency of binge eating and unhealthy weight-control behavior.” The findings appeared in the December 2006 issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health.

The lesson here: Teach kids and adolescents to focus less on what the scale says and more on feeling healthy, moving regularly and eating healthful foods.

For the latest research, statistics, sample classes, and more, "Like" IDEA on Facebook here.

Diane Lofshult

IDEA Author/Presenter
Diane Lofshult is an award-winning freelance author who specializes in nutrition and weight manag... more less
May 2007

© 2007 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

Get the award-winning IDEA Fitness Journal delivered to your door every month!

Get IDEA Fitness Journal

Article Comments

Add Comment

5 + 2 =
Cancel
View all questions