Is self-weighing an effective tool for weight loss : a systematic literature review and meta-analysis

Claire D. Madigan, Amanda J. Daley, Amanda L. Lewis, Paul Aveyard, Catherine Jolly

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40 Citations (Scopus)
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There is a need to identify effective behavioural strategies for weight loss. Self-weighing may be one such strategy.

To examine the effectiveness of self-weighing for weight loss.

A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials that included self-weighing as an isolated intervention or as a component within an intervention. We used sub groups to analyse differences in frequency of weighing instruction (daily and weekly) and also whether including accountability affected weight loss.

Only one study examined self-weighing as a single strategy and there was no evidence it was effective (-0.5 kg 95 % CI -1.3 to 0.3). Four trials added self-weighing/self-regulation techniques to multi-component programmes and resulted in a significant difference of -1.7 kg (95 % CI -2.6 to -0.8). Fifteen trials comparing multi-component interventions including self-weighing compared with no intervention or minimal control resulted in a significant mean difference of -3.4 kg (95 % CI -4.2 to -2.6). There was no significant difference in the interventions with weekly or daily weighing. In trials which included accountability there was significantly greater weight loss (p = 0.03).

There is a lack of evidence of whether advising self-weighing without other intervention components is effective. Adding self-weighing to a behavioural weight loss programme may improve weight loss. Behavioural weight loss programmes that include self-weighing are more effective than minimal interventions. Accountability may improve the effectiveness of interventions that include self-weighing.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2015


  • Self-weighing
  • Obesity
  • Public health
  • Treatment


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