Monday, June 8, 2009

Weekly Weigh-Ins Help Overweight Teens Manage Their Weight

Throughout the course of the week, heck even throughout the course of the day, our weight fluctuates based on a multitude of factors. Our food and drink intake (and output), and our activity level, just to name a few, can all contribute to fluctuations in our weight. For these reasons, frequent weight-ins are not recommended - especially in teens - as this behaviour can lead to some pretty nasty and unhealthy self-image issues.

Put all that on the back burner, though, because regular weigh-ins can be just what the doctor ordered for individuals struggling with managing their weight. This is true even for teens, according to a new study just published. The findings, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, suggest that in overweight teens, weigh-ins at least once a week can assist in weight management and improve their overall health behaviours.

In the study, two groups of overweight teens - those who weighed themselves at least once a week, and those who weighed themselves once a month or less - completed a survey on weight control behaviors, dietary intake, physical activity, and sedentary activity. Height and weight were also measured. It was found that the teens who weighed themselves more often were more likely to follow a structured diet and practice healthy weight control behaviours such as consuming fewer calories and reducing fast food, high-fat food and and "junk food" intake. They were also more likely to participate in more strenuous physical activity and played less video games than their infrequent-weighing counterparts.

Overall, the findings suggest that, in individuals struggling with excess weight, weekly weigh-ins can help reinforce healthy behaviours. These weigh-ins sort of act as a reminder that healthy weight control behaviours can help the numbers on the scale (and your waistline) get smaller, whereas unhealthy behaviours can do just the opposite. The researchers go on to state that "self-monitoring of weight may be a useful component of a comprehensive weight management plan". Hey, even though it's not a revelation, it's really nice to know that it truly does work.