What patients with anorexia nervosa should wear when they are being weighed: report of two pilot surveys

Eur Eat Disord Rev. Jul-Aug 2011;19(4):368-70. doi: 10.1002/erv.1093.


Aim: Weighing patients with anorexia nervosa tends to be an integral part of their treatment, yet there is variability in the detail of how this is conducted. The aim of this study was to carry out preliminary exploration of one aspect of this, namely what patients wear when being weighed.

Method: Two Web-based surveys were conducted accessing the views of ex-patients (20 respondents) and professionals (98 respondents).

Results: Responses confirmed the variability in arrangements for weighing patients. Both patients and professionals were more concerned with accuracy than with privacy, and the patients stated a preference for being weighed in underwear. Between 30 and 57% of patients reported having falsified their weight during treatment.

Discussion: These surveys provide a reminder of the high frequency of falsification of weight and some support for a policy of weighing in underwear. The strength of the findings is limited by the methodology with small number of ex-patients all of whom had been through the same treatment programme. Given the paucity of literature on this clinically relevant topic, this does seem to be an area that warrants further investigation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anorexia Nervosa / therapy*
  • Body Weight*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects