Daily self-weighing to control body weight in adults: A critical review of the literature

Carly R. Pacanowski, Fredrik Bertz, David A. Levitsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The objective of this study is to review the history of daily self-weighing for weight control, discuss the possibility that selfweighing may cause adverse psychological symptoms, and propose mechanisms that explain how self-weighing facilitates weight control. A systematic forward (citation) tracking approach has been employed in this study. In the early literature, experimental tests did not demonstrate a benefit of adding daily self-weighing to traditional behavioral modification for weight loss. More recent studies have shown that daily self-weighing combined with personalized electronic feedback can produce and sustain weight loss with and without a traditional weight loss program. Daily self-weighing appears to be effective in preventing age-related weight gain. Apart from these experimental findings, there is considerable agreement that the frequency of self-weighing correlates with success in losing weight and sustaining the weight loss. The early literature suggested frequent self-weighing may be associated with negative psychological effects. However, more recent experimental trials do not substantiate such a causal relationship. In conclusion, daily self-weighing may be a useful strategy for certain adults to prevent weight gain, lose weight, or prevent weight regain after loss. More research is needed to better understand the role of different types of feedback, who benefits most from self-weighing, and at what frequency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSAGE Open
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2014.

Copyright 2018 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Adults
  • Behavioral strategies
  • Body weight
  • Obesity
  • Psychology
  • Self-weighing
  • Weight loss

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