Self-Weighing and Weight Control Behaviors Among Adolescents with a History of Overweight

Mary E. Alm, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Mary Story, Kerri N. Boutelle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Purpose: To assess the relationships between self-weighing frequency, weight control behaviors, and weight status among male and female adolescents who have a history of being overweight. Methods: This study compared weight control behaviors between two groups of adolescents with a history of being overweight (body mass index [BMI] >85th percentile): those who weighed themselves weekly or more (frequent self-weighers) and those who weighed themselves monthly or less (infrequent self-weighers). Participants completed a survey on weight control behaviors, dietary intake, physical activity, and sedentary activity. Height and weight were also measured. Logistic regression analyses were used for categorical outcomes and linear regressions for continuous outcomes. Results: Of the 130 adolescents, 43% were frequent weighers and 57% were infrequent weighers. In comparison to infrequent self-weighers, frequent self-weighers were more likely to report using behavior change strategies, following a structured diet, and engaging in healthy weight control behaviors, especially decreasing caloric intake, high fat food intake, and "junk food" intake. Also, more frequent self-weighers reported engaging in more strenuous physical activity and spending less time playing videogames than infrequent self-weighers. Although not significant, a trend resulted indicating lower average BMI percentile among frequent self-weighers. No significant differences were found between the two groups in unhealthy weight control behaviors. Conclusions: These results suggest that adolescents with a history of overweight who self-weigh at least weekly are more likely to report using healthy weight control behaviors than adolescents who self-weigh monthly or less frequently. Self-monitoring of weight may be a useful component of a comprehensive weight management plan for some overweight adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)424-430
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2009


  • Pediatrics
  • Self-monitoring
  • Weight management
  • Weight monitoring


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