Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Frequent Self-Weighing as a Weight Loss Tool

The American Dietetic Association (ADA) recently released a statement asking that people dedicate themselves to engaging in healthful behaviors for a lifetime. Of course, this probably means that starting early in life, people should adhere to a healthy diet and exercise regularly. Obesity, early in life, often leads to obesity later in life. So tools -- especially simple tools -- that can help children and adults lose weight, or manage weight, would prove useful.

Not only would the tools prove useful in weight loss and weight management, the tools would also help save money. The organization, Health Advocate (TM), a group that focuses on healthcare, authored a report entitled, "Obesity in America: Workplace Solutions." The report suggests that employers should offer programs to help employees lose and maintain a healthy weight. The report goes on to say that offering cost-effective programs could actually help employers save money. It is estimated that employers spend in excess of $13 billion per year on obesity-related medical costs and lost productivity.

The three methods used to fight weight are lifestyle modification (focusing heavily on diet and exercise), obesity drugs, and weight loss surgery. Some behavior modification is commonly a part of all three methods. One way to modify behavior is to monitor some indicator of the behavior you are trying to modify. Weighing is often used to monitor weight to determine how well a weight loss program is working. Moreover, some experts believe that frequent self-weighing is a motivator for weight loss or weight management.

A study, reported on in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, appears to indicate that weekly self-weighing, as a motivator for weight loss or weight management, is supported by evidence. However, the study goes on to say that more research is needed. The study makes the point that frequent self-weighing might cause psychological problems.

However, if frequent self-weighing is a powerful strategy for losing and maintaining weight, frequent self-weighing could be instituted early in life. And assuming that frequent self-weighing during childhood doesn’t do psychological harm, self-weighing during childhood could be useful in curbing adult obesity. Moreover, mass use of the tool throughout life could help reduce costs associated with obesity.

Bariatric or weight loss centers should take note of the self-weighing research. And if the research supports using self-weighing for weight loss and weight management, a center could work with its community to emphasize the importance of self-weighing as a way to improve health or maintain good health. Working with its community to try to improve health would enhance a center's image as a good corporate citizen.


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