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, Kate Jolly

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


Background: There is a need to identify effective behavioural strategies for weight loss. Self-weighing may be one such strategy. Purpose: To examine the effectiveness of self-weighing for weight loss. Methods: 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. Results: 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). Conclusions: 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


  • Health
  • Obesity
  • Public
  • Self-weighing
  • Treatment


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