Are breaks in daily self-weighing associated with weight gain?

PLoS One. 2014 Nov 14;9(11):e113164. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0113164. eCollection 2014.


Regular self-weighing is linked to successful weight loss and maintenance. However, an individual's self-weighing frequency typically varies over time. This study examined temporal associations between time differences of consecutive weight measurements and the corresponding weight changes by analysing longitudinal self-weighing data, including 2,838 weight observations from 40 individuals attending a health-promoting programme. The relationship between temporal weighing frequency and corresponding weight change was studied primarily using a linear mixed effects model. Weight change between consecutive weight measurements was associated with the corresponding time difference (β = 0.021% per day, p<0.001). Weight loss took place during periods of daily self-weighing, whereas breaks longer than one month posed a risk of weight gain. The findings emphasize that missing data in weight management studies with a weight-monitoring component may be associated with non-adherence to the weight loss programme and an early sign of weight gain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weights and Measures*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Self Care
  • Weight Gain

Grant support

The main source of funding for this research was Tampere University of Technology. The research was partly supported by the Strategic Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation in Health and Well-being (SalWe) Research Program for Mind and Body (Tekes - the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation grant 1104/10) and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.