Background: Greater than 60% of adults have overweight or obesity. Self-weighing is an effective weight loss and weight maintenance tool. However, little is known about self-weighing habits among the primary care patient population. Our objective was to examine the frequency of patient-reported self-weighing, and to evaluate the associations of self-weighing with demographic characteristics and self-monitoring behaviors. Methods: We conducted an analysis of survey data collected as part of the PaTH Clinical Data Research Network, which recruited a cohort of 1,021 primary care patients at 4 academic medical centers. Patients of all body mass index (BMI) categories were included. Results: Response rate of 6-month survey was 727 (71%). The mean age was 56 years, and most were female (68%), White (78%), college graduates (66%), and employed/retired (85%). The mean BMI was 30.2 kg/m2, 80% of participants had a BMI ≧ 25 kg/m2. Of patients with BMI ≧ 25 kg/m2, 35% of participants self-weighed weekly and 23% daily. Participants who reported self-weighing at least weekly were more likely to be older (59 vs 54 years, p < 0.01), married (p = 0.01), college graduates (p = 0.03), White (p < 0.01), and employed vs disabled/unemployed (p < 0.01). Patients who self-weighed daily had a lower BMI (29 kg/m2 vs 31 kg/m2, p = 0.04). Patients who tracked exercise or food intake were more likely to self-weigh daily (p < 0.01), as were patients wanting to lose or maintain weight (p < 0.01). Conclusions: Despite its potential for primary and secondary obesity prevention, only 35% of primary care patients with overweight or obesity engage in self-weighing weekly and less than a quarter (23%) self-weigh daily. Socioeconomic status appears to be a factor influencing regular self-weighing in this population, potentially contributing to greater health disparities in obesity rates. Patients who self-weighed daily had a lower BMI, suggesting that it may play a role in primary prevention of obesity. More work is needed to explore self-weighing among patients.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Internal Medicine