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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Minnesota Study Finds Teens Who Often Weigh Themselves are More Likely to Have Negative Mental Health Effect

A recent study from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health found that young women who frequently self-weigh may be at risk for depression and were more likely to have lower levels of self-esteem and body satisfaction.

[Photo: Dr. Carly Pacanowski]

“The findings from this study suggest that for some teens and young adults, self-weighing is associated with poor psychological health and it is important that we use caution when recommending self-weighing or any strategy for weight control that may not be beneficial for some individuals,” said Dr. Carly Pacanowski, lead author and senior research fellow at the School of Public Health

The study was published in Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

Dr. Pacanowski and colleagues looked at 2,000 teenagers over the course of 10 years, tracking self-weighing habits and asking questions to gauge body perceptions. Teen girls showed more concerns about weight gain and being thinner than those who did not frequently weigh themselves, and reported being less satisfied with their body weight. Boy participants had similar results, yet self-esteem was less affected in comparison to teen girls.

Dr. Pacanowski and colleagues plan on continuing their research to identify which teens are most susceptible to the mental health effects of scale reading, but encourages physicians, family, and friends to help out.