Daily self-weighing has been suggested as an important factor for weight loss maintenance among samples with obesity. This study is a secondary analysis that examined daily self-weighing in association with weight and body composition outcomes over 2 years among young women with vulnerability for weight gain. Women (N = 294) of varying weight status completed self-weighing frequency questionnaires and weight was measured in the clinic at baseline, 6 months, 1, and 2 years; DXA scans were completed at baseline, 6 months and 2 years. Multilevel models examined the relationship between daily self-weighing (at any point in the study) and trajectories of BMI and body fat percentage. Daily self-weighing was associated with significant declines in BMI and body fat percent over time. Future research is needed to examine causal relations between daily self-weighing and weight gain prevention. Nonetheless, these data extend the possibility that daily self-weighing may be important for prevention of unwanted weight gain.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Arigo, D., Butryn, M. L., Raggio, G. A., Stice, E., & Lowe, M. R. (2016). Predicting change in physical activity: A longitudinal investigation among weight-concerned college women. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 50, 629. doi:10.1007/s12160-016-9788-6
Basagaña, X., & Spiegelman, D. (2010). Power and sample size calculations for longitudinal studies comparing rates of change with a time-varying exposure. Statistics in Medicine, 29, 181–192.
Bates, D., Mächler, M., Bolker, B., & Walker, S. (2015). Fitting linear mixed-effects models using lme4. Journal of Statistical Software, 67, 48. doi:10.18637/jss.v067.i01
Bertz, F., Pacanowski, C. R., & Levitsky, D. A. (2015). Frequent self-weighing with electronic graphic feedback to prevent age-related weight gain in young adults. Obesity (Silver Spring), 23, 2009–2014. doi:10.1002/oby.21211
Butryn, M. L., Phelan, S., Hill, J. O., & Wing, R. R. (2007). Consistent self-monitoring of weight: A key component of successful weight loss maintenance. Obesity (Silver Spring), 15, 3091–3096. doi:10.1038/oby.2007.368
Deurenberg, P., & Deurenberg-Yap, M. (2001). Differences in body-composition assumptions across ethnic groups: Practical consequences. Current Opinion in Clinical Nurition and Metabolic Care, 4, 377–383.
Gelman, A., & Hill, J. (2007). Data analysis using regression and multilevel/hierarchical models. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Gokee-LaRose, J., Gorin, A. A., & Wing, R. R. (2009). Behavioral self-regulation for weight loss in young adults: A randomized controlled trial. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 6, 10. doi:10.1186/1479-5868-6-10
Haines, J., Kleinman, K. P., Rifas-Shiman, S. L., Field, A. E., & Austin, S. B. (2010). Examination of shared risk and protective factors for overweight and disordered eating among adolescents. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 164, 336–343.
Han, T. S., Sattar, N., & Lean, M. (2006). Assessment of obesity and its clinical implications. BMJ, 333, 695–698. doi:10.1136/bmj.333.7570.695
Hedeker, D., & Gibbons, R. D. (1997). Application of random-effects pattern-mixture models for missing data in longitudinal studies. Psychological Methods, 2, 64.
Hoffman, L. (2015). Longitudinal analysis: Modeling within-person fluctuation and change. New York: Routledge.
IBM Corp. (Released 2014). IBM SPSS statistics for Windows, version 23.0. Armonk, NY: IBM Corp.
Katterman, S. N., Butryn, M. L., Hood, M. M., & Lowe, M. R. (2016). Daily weight monitoring as a method of weight gain prevention in healthy weight and overweight young adult women. Journal of Health Psychology, 21, 2955–2965. doi:10.1177/1359105315589446
Klem, M. L., Wing, R. R., McGuire, M. T., Seagle, H. M., & Hill, J. O. (1997). A descriptive study of individuals successful at long-term maintenance of substantial weight loss. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 66, 239–246.
Klesges, R. C., Isbell, T. R., & Klesges, L. M. (1992). Relationship between dietary restraint, energy intake, physical activity, and body weight: A prospective analysis. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 101, 668–674. doi:10.1037/0021-843X.101.4.668
Kuznetsova, A., Brockhoff, P. B., & Christensen, R. H. B. (2015). lmerTest: Tests for random and fixed effects for linear mixed effect models.. http://CRAN.R-project.org/package=lmerTest
Levitsky, D. A., Garay, J., Nausbaum, M., Neighbors, L., & Dellavalle, D. M. (2006). Monitoring weight daily blocks the freshman weight gain: A model for combating the epidemic of obesity. International Journal of Obesity (London), 30, 1003–1010. doi:10.1038/sj.ijo.0803221
Linde, J. A., Jeffery, R. W., Finch, E. A., Simon, G. E., Ludman, E. J., Operskalski, B. H., et al. (2007). Relation of body mass index to depression and weighing frequency in overweight women. Preventive Medicine, 45, 75–79. doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2007.03.008
Linde, J. A., Jeffery, R. W., French, S. A., Pronk, N. P., & Boyle, R. G. (2005). Self-weighing in weight gain prevention and weight loss trials. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 30, 210–216.
Lloyd-Richardson, E. E., Bailey, S., Fava, J. L., & Wing, R. (2009). A prospective study of weight gain during the college freshman and sophomore years. Preventive Medicine, 48, 256–261.
Lowe, M. R., Annunziato, R. A., Markowitz, J. T., Didie, E., Bellace, D. L., Riddell, L., et al. (2006). Multiple types of dieting prospectively predict weight gain during the freshman year of college. Appetite, 47, 83–90. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2006.03.160
Lowe, M. R., Arigo, D., Butryn, M. L., Gilbert, J. R., Sarwer, D., & Stice, E. (2016). Hedonic hunger prospectively predicts onset and maintenance of loss of control eating among college women. Health Psychology, 35(3), 238–244. doi:10.1037/hea0000291
Maas, C. J., & Hox, J. J. (2005). Sufficient sample sizes for multilevel modeling. Methodology, 1, 86–92.
McGuire, M. T., Wing, R. R., Klem, M. L., & Hill, J. O. (1999). Behavioral strategies of individuals who have maintained long-term weight losses. Obesity Research, 7, 334–341.
Mihalopoulos, N. L., Auinger, P., & Klein, J. D. (2008). The freshman 15: Is it real? Journal of American College Health, 56, 531–533.
Nelson, M. C., Story, M., Larson, N. I., Neumark-Sztainer, D., & Lytle, L. A. (2008). Emerging adulthood and college-aged youth: An overlooked age for weight-related behavior change. Obesity, 16, 2205–2211. doi:10.1038/oby.2008.365
Neumark-Sztainer, D., Paxton, S. J., Hannan, P. J., Haines, J., & Story, M. (2006). Does body satisfaction matter? Five-year longitudinal associations between body satisfaction and health behaviors in adolescent females and males. Journal of Adolescent Health, 39(2), 244–251. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2005.12.001
Neumark-Sztainer, D., Wall, M. M., Haines, J. I., Story, M. T., Sherwood, N. E., & van den Berg, P. A. (2007). Shared risk and protective factors for overweight and disordered eating in adolescents. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 33, 359–369.
Ogden, C. L., Carroll, M. D., Fryar, C. D., & Flegal, K. M. (2015). Prevalence of obesity among adults and youth: United States, 2011–2014. NCHS data brief, no 219. Retrieved from Hyattsville, MD.
Pliner, P., & Saunders, T. (2008). Vulnerability to freshman weight gain as a function of dietary restraint and residence. Physiology & Behavior, 93, 76–82. doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2007.07.017
Racette, S. B., Deusinger, S. S., Strube, M. J., Highstein, G. R., & Deusinger, R. H. (2008). Changes in weight and health behaviors from freshman through senior year of college. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 40, 39–42. doi:10.1016/j.jneb.2007.01.001
RStudio Team. (2015). RStudio: Integrated development for R. Version 0.99.902. Boston, MA: RStudio, Inc. Retrieved from http://www.rstudio.com/
Sonneville, K. R., Calzo, J. P., Horton, N. J., Haines, J., Austin, S. B., & Field, A. E. (2012). Body satisfaction, weight gain, and binge eating among overweight adolescent girls. International Journal of Obesity, 36, 944–949. doi:10.1038/ijo.2012.68
Steinberg, D. M., Bennett, G. G., Askew, S., & Tate, D. F. (2015). Weighing every day matters: Daily weighing improves weight loss and adoption of weight control behaviors. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 115, 511–518. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2014.12.011
Stice, E., Durant, S., Burger, K. S., & Schoeller, D. A. (2011). Weight suppression and risk of future increases in body mass: Effects of suppressed resting metabolic rate and energy expenditure. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 94, 7–11.
VanWormer, J. J., French, S. A., Pereira, M. A., & Welsh, E. M. (2008). The impact of regular self-weighing on weight management: A systematic literature review. The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 5, 54. doi:10.1186/1479-5868-5-54
Vella-Zarb, R. A., & Elgar, F. J. (2009). The ‘Freshman 5’: A meta-analysis of weight gain in the freshman year of college. Journal of American College Health, 58(2), 161–166. doi:10.1080/07448480903221392
Wing, R. R. (1998). Behavioral approaches to the treatment of obesity. In G. A. Bray, C. Bouchard, & W. P. T. James (Eds.), Handbook of obesity (pp. 855–877). New York: Marcel Dekker.
Wing, R. R., Tate, D., LaRose, J. G., Gorin, A. A., Erickson, K., Robichaud, E. F., et al. (2015). Frequent self-weighing as part of a constellation of healthy weight control practices in young adults. Obesity (Silver Spring), 23, 943–949. doi:10.1002/oby.21064
Zheng, Y., Klem, M. L., Sereika, S. M., Danford, C. A., Ewing, L. J., & Burke, L. E. (2015). Self-weighing in weight management: A systematic literature review. Obesity (Silver Spring), 23, 256–265. doi:10.1002/oby.20946
This study was funded by NIH RO1 DK072982.
Conflict of interest
Diane L. Rosenbaum, Hallie M. Espel, Meghan L. Butryn, Fengqing Zhang, and Michael R. Lowe declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
Human and animal right and Informed consent
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
About this article
Cite this article
Rosenbaum, D.L., Espel, H.M., Butryn, M.L. et al. Daily self-weighing and weight gain prevention: a longitudinal study of college-aged women. J Behav Med 40, 846–853 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10865-017-9870-y
- Weight change
- Body fat change
- Obesity prevention