Frequent self-weighing is not associated with depression in women, according to researchers at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. A study being published in a recent issue of Preventive Medicine found no strong evidence linking frequent scale stepping and depression in women. In addition, self-weighing daily, rather than once every week or month, was associated with lower Body Mass Index (BMI) levels in women 40 years or older.
Past research has suggested that weight gain and obesity are linked to depressive symptoms, especially among women. Daily weight monitoring can provide valuable feedback that can lead to greater weight loss and less weight gain, but little is known about its effects on the psychological state.
"The purpose of the study was to examine the associations of frequent self-weighing with women's susceptibility to depression and the their BMI levels," explained Jennifer Linde, Ph.D., lead author and assistant professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. "With no significant link to depression associated with self-weighing, the results suggest that daily weight monitoring could be a healthy way to keep tabs on BMI levels and weight gain."
Researchers examined data from a survey of enrolled members of the Group Health Cooperative, a group, prepaid health plan in Washington and northern Idaho. More than 4,650 women between the ages of 40 and 65 were surveyed from November 2003 to February 2005. After adjusting for BMI levels, the association between self-weighing and depression was not significant. Frequent self-weighing was independently associated with both the absence of depressive symptoms and lower BMI levels.
"The findings of the study suggest that recommendations for regular self-weighing appear to be equally beneficial for adults regardless of their depression status," said Linde.
The study was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health.