U study says young adults who frequently weigh themselves have poorer self images

Rebecca Harrington

Teens who frequently weigh themselves are more likely to develop health problems like depression, steroid use or binge eating, according to a study conducted by the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health and Department of Pediatrics.

The study, which surveyed over 2,200 young adults with an average age of 25 in the metro area, found that 18 percent of young women and 12 percent of young men weighed themselves several times per week. This frequent weighing was linked to lower self-esteem, unhealthy eating habits and "muscle-enhancing behaviors."

“Adolescents and young adults face a lot of pressure from society to fit the ideal body weight or shape,” said lead author Virginia Quick, Ph.D., according to the Health Behavior News Service. “But the number on the scale is not the only measure of overall health.”

The study encourages health care providers to screen young adults who weight themselves frequently to see if they exhibit these behaviors.

“We have to do something about the obesity crisis," said psychology of eating expert Michelle Dionne, Ph.D., "but if you don’t provide people with the tools, resources, and information they need to implement proper weight control then you’re just creating another mess."