Daily Weigh-Ins Keep the Weight Off

October 11, 2006

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- A daily trip to the scale may help dieters maintain their weight loss over the long term, researchers said.

PROVIDENCE, R.I., Oct. 11 -- A daily trip to the scale may help dieters maintain their weight loss over the long term, researchers said.

However, only those taught how to use the information to change their eating or exercise habits were significantly more likely to keep the weight off with this method, reported Rena R. Wing, Ph.D., of Brown Medical School here, and colleagues, in the Oct. 12 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Patients who met face-to-face, or had online meetings, and weighed in daily had an 82% lower likelihood of regaining five or more pounds over 18 months compared with those that did not weigh in daily. Daily weighing had no effect on the control group.

Meeting with an intervention group in person or in a chat room helped patients who had lost at least 10% of their body weight over the previous two years to achieve less absolute weight gain (mean 2.5 kg face-to-face, 4.7 kg Internet, 4.9 kg control, P=0.05 face-to-face versus control).

There were no differences between groups in changes in caloric intake, percentage of calories from fat or physical activity. But, the intervention groups rated daily self-weighing as more important in their weight-maintenance efforts than the control group (P=0.001) and reported doing so more often (P

The participants were paid to visit a clinic for assessment at six, 12, and 18 months where they were weighed with a calibrated scale, completed activity and food questionnaires, and reported their frequency of self-weighing. Assessment attendance was high and not significantly different between intervention and control groups.

Most participants had initially lost weight using commercial weight-loss groups (39.5%), with no outside help (22.9%), or with exercise (36.6%). An additional approach usually accompanied exercise.

After adjustment for baseline percent weight reduction, the face-to-face group lost significantly higher percentages of weight during the 18 months (P=0.02 versus Internet group and P=0.006 versus control group).

When the researchers looked at weight gain assuming that all dropouts regained 2.3 kg or more, they found that 72.4% of the control group regained at least this amount compared to 54.8% of the Internet group (P=0.008) and 45.7% of the face-to-face group (P