Patterns of self-weighing behavior and weight change in a weight loss trial

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Regular self-weighing has been associated with weight loss and maintenance in adults enrolled in a behavioral weight loss intervention; however, few studies have examined the patterns of adherence to a self-weighing protocol. The study aims were to (1) identify patterns of self-weighing behavior; and (2) examine adherence to energy intake and step goals and weight change by self-weighing patterns.


This was a secondary analysis of self-monitoring and assessment weight data from a 12-month behavioral weight loss intervention study. Each participant was given a scale that was Wi-Fi-enabled and transmitted the date-stamped weight data to a central server. Group-based trajectory modeling was used to identify distinct classes of trajectories based on the number of days participants self-weighed over 51 weeks.


The sample (N = 148) was 90.5% female, 81.1% non-Hispanic white, with a mean (s.d.) age of 51.3 (10.1) years, had completed an average of 16.4 (2.8) years of education and had mean body mass index of 34.1 (4.6) kg m-2. Three patterns of selfweighing were identified: high/consistent (n = 111, 75.0% self-weighed over 6 days per week regularly); moderate/declined (n = 24, 16.2% declined from 4–5 to 2 days per week gradually); and minimal/declined (n = 13, 8.8% declined from 5–6 to 0 days per week after week 33). The high/consistent group achieved greater weight loss than either the moderate/declined and minimal/declined groups at 6 months (-10.19% ± 5.78%, - 5.45% ± 4.73% and - 2.00% ± 4.58%) and 12 months (-9.90% ± 8.16%, - 5.62% ± 6.28% and 0.65% ± 3.58%), respectively (P<0.001). The high/consistent group had a greater mean number days per week of adherence to calorie intake goal or step goal but not higher than the moderate/declined group.


This is the first study to reveal distinct temporal patterns of self-weighing behavior. The majority of participants were able to sustain a habit of daily self-weighing with regular self-weighing leading to weight loss and maintenance as well as adherence to energy intake and step goals.

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