CHICAGO – After 1 year, people who weigh themselves every day or more than once a week lose more weight than those who weigh themselves more frequently in new studies.
Study participants 18 years of age and older, mostly men, have purchased a scale of Wi-Fi-capable bathrooms, and joined the online eHeart Health study, which has been described as a Framingham study for the social media era.
These findings, from Yaguang Zheng, PhD, MSN, University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues, will be presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Session (AHA) 2018 on November 10.
Participants "don't need to" want to lose weight, senior author Mark J. Pletcher, MD, MPH, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, University of California, San Francisco, explained to theheart.org | Medscape Cardiology, but they "want to track their weight."
The results show, he said, that "people show different trajectories of self-weighing behavior," and these different behaviors are strongly associated with different patterns of weight loss.
However, this study cannot show cause and effect, he warned.
For example, "people who happen to weigh themselves are more likely too … tend to be more religious about their diet choices and cling to them [weight-loss] Plan, "he said, or vice versa, seeing a decrease in pounds on this scale can encourage people to eat healthier and / or exercise more to try to maintain weight.
What can be best concluded from this study, said Pletcher, is that "it is possible that it might help weigh yourself every day."
Invited to comment, AHA spokesperson Nieca Goldberg, MD, cardiologist and director, NYU Center for Women & Health's and comedian director of the 92 Yi Street heart rehabilitation program in New York City, agreed that this study showed that doctors must "consider talking to their patients about weighing themselves more often."
The use of smart bathroom scales to track weight changes "is a new way to help promote weight loss. It promotes self-awareness in an effort to reduce one of the main risk factors for heart disease."
However, "I think it should be tried on more people, especially more women, because this study has 78% male participation," Goldberg stressed. In addition, "one caveat is that some patients may be discouraged with little or no change from one day to the next and give up."
There are no guidelines that recommend special weighing patterns, he noted. "When I advised patients about weight loss, I explained that they needed to reduce 500 calories to lose one pound a week," he said. "I also discussed diet and exercise recommendations. In my practice, I don't recommend daily weighing."
Digital era Framingham Learn
For this study, Zheng and colleagues aimed to identify self-weighing patterns to see if they were related to differences in weight loss.
They examined data from the Health eHeart study, which has recruited more than 200,000 people since 2013. The research lists adults who have email addresses, approvals for completing online surveys, and allows their devices, such as FitBit or cuff blood pressure, to send data to the researchers.
The current analysis is from 1,042 participants who have at least 12 months of data from a bathroom scale with WiFi or Bluetooth.
The average age of participants was 48 years and the average body mass index (BMI) was 29 kg / m2. Most are male (78%) and white (90%).
"Some patients experience a heart attack or a previous stroke or have heart failure or cardiovascular risk factors," Pletcher reports, "but most are healthy."
They were not given instructions about how often to weigh themselves or how to regulate their weight, nor did they receive incentives for weight loss.
The researchers identified six types of self-weighing throughout the year:
Consistent daily weighing (n = 281; 27%).
Rapid decline of weighing around 5 days / week to less than 1 day / week (n = 109; 11%)
Slow decline of weighing around 5 days / week to 3 days / week (n = 182; 18%)
Increased frequency of weighing around 2 days / week to 3 days / week (n = 160; 15%)
Weekly weighing (n = 189; 18%)
Don't weigh (n = 121; 12%)
Participants who weigh themselves every day are more likely to be older, female, and check their weight every day from the beginning.
At 12 months, those who weigh themselves every day lose an average of 1.7 kg; those who have a slow or slow decrease in the weighing frequency have lost an average of 1.9 kg and 1.8 kg, respectively; and those who increase their weighing frequency have lost an average of 0.8 kg. All significant differences from the start (P <.01).
However, participants who weigh themselves every week have gotten 0.2 kg, and those who have never weighed themselves have lost 0.2 kg, a difference that is not significant from the baseline.
Zheng and Pletcher have no relevant financial disclosures.
American Scientific Sessions 2018: Abstract Sa2394. Will be presented November 10, 2018.
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