Understanding Primary Care Patients’ Self-weighing Habits: Cohort Analysis from the PaTH Clinical Data Research Network

Carolyn T. Bramante, Kathleen M. McTigue, Harold P. Lehmann, Jeanne M. Clark, Scott Rothenberger, Jennifer Kraschnewski, Michelle R. Lent, Sharon J. Herring, Molly B. Conroy, Jody McCullough, Wendy L. Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Greater than 60% of adults have overweight or obesity. Self-weighing is an effective weight loss and weight maintenance tool. However, little is known about self-weighing habits among the primary care patient population. Our objective was to examine the frequency of patient-reported self-weighing, and to evaluate the associations of self-weighing with demographic characteristics and self-monitoring behaviors. Methods: We conducted an analysis of survey data collected as part of the PaTH Clinical Data Research Network, which recruited a cohort of 1,021 primary care patients at 4 academic medical centers. Patients of all body mass index (BMI) categories were included. Results: Response rate of 6-month survey was 727 (71%). The mean age was 56 years, and most were female (68%), White (78%), college graduates (66%), and employed/retired (85%). The mean BMI was 30.2 kg/m2, 80% of participants had a BMI ≧ 25 kg/m2. Of patients with BMI ≧ 25 kg/m2, 35% of participants self-weighed weekly and 23% daily. Participants who reported self-weighing at least weekly were more likely to be older (59 vs 54 years, p < 0.01), married (p = 0.01), college graduates (p = 0.03), White (p < 0.01), and employed vs disabled/unemployed (p < 0.01). Patients who self-weighed daily had a lower BMI (29 kg/m2 vs 31 kg/m2, p = 0.04). Patients who tracked exercise or food intake were more likely to self-weigh daily (p < 0.01), as were patients wanting to lose or maintain weight (p < 0.01). Conclusions: Despite its potential for primary and secondary obesity prevention, only 35% of primary care patients with overweight or obesity engage in self-weighing weekly and less than a quarter (23%) self-weigh daily. Socioeconomic status appears to be a factor influencing regular self-weighing in this population, potentially contributing to greater health disparities in obesity rates. Patients who self-weighed daily had a lower BMI, suggesting that it may play a role in primary prevention of obesity. More work is needed to explore self-weighing among patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1775-1781
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of general internal medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 15 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Internal Medicine


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