Daily self-weighing can prevent people from gaining extra weight during holidays, researchers have found.
Obesity defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that can pose a risk to health is a major risk factor for more than 200 comorbid conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Approximately 1.2 billion people worldwide have obesity, according to a new study published in the Journal of Obesity.
Researchers engaged in a 14-week follow-up period with participants who weighed themselves on a daily basis with participants who did not.
The study's authors reported that participants in the intervention group were instructed to try to maintain their baseline weight throughout the holiday season. However, no additional instructions on how to achieve that goal were provided.
This allowed each participant to self-select how they would modify their behaviour. For instance, an individual could become more physically active or decide to eat less if a weight increase was noticed. Participants in the control group were given no instructions.
"Maybe they exercise a little bit more the next day (after seeing a weight increase) or they watch what they are eating more carefully. The subjects self-select how they are going to modify their behaviour, which can be effective because we know that interventions are not one-size-fits-all," said study author Jamie Cooper.
Cooper and colleagues observed that future research is needed to determine if the act of daily self-weighing without graphical feedback would be effective at maintaining weight over the holiday season.
Susan Yanovski, an obesity researcher added that "replication in larger studies with more diverse participants would help to determine the generalisability of this approach for weight gain prevention."
"Vacations and holidays are probably the two times of year people are most susceptible to weight gain in a very short period of time. The holidays can actually have a big impact on someone's long-term health," Cooper concluded.
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