Send to

Choose Destination
J Adolesc Health. 2012 Nov;51(5):468-74. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2012.02.008. Epub 2012 Apr 4.

Self-weighing behaviors in young adults: tipping the scale toward unhealthy eating behaviors?

Author information

Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55454, USA.



This study examined associations between frequency of self-weighing and healthy weight-control behaviors (WCBs), unhealthy WCBs, muscle-enhancing behaviors (e.g., steroid use, protein powders), and psychological well-being (i.e., self-esteem, depression, body satisfaction) in a community sample of young adults.


Data were drawn from Project EAT-III (Eating and Activity in Teens and Young Adults), the third wave of a population-based study. Participants included young adults (n = 2,287, mean age = 25.3 years) from the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area.


Self-weighing a few times per week or more frequently was reported by 18% of young adult women and 12% of young adult men. Linear regression models, adjusted for body mass index and demographic characteristics, indicated that in both women and men, more frequent self-weighing was associated with a higher prevalence of dieting, both healthy and unhealthy WCBs, and muscle-enhancing behaviors. Additionally, young women who reported more frequent self-weighing were more likely to report binge eating. More frequent self-weighing was also associated with more depressive symptoms and lower self-esteem in women and lower body satisfaction in young men.


More frequent self-weighing is associated with healthy and unhealthy weight-control practices, muscle-enhancing behaviors, and poorer psychological well-being in young adults. Young adults engaging in self-weighing behaviors should be screened for these health indicators and counseled as appropriate. Before recommending self-weighing as a weight-monitoring tool, health care providers should ensure that young adults are not at risk for an unhealthy preoccupation with body weight or shape.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center