Office of Undergraduate Research

An examination of the physiological, psychological, and behavioral correlates of body weight monitoring

Body weight monitoring, or the measurement of body weight by the self or others using a scale, is a technique used in numerous popular weight management programs. However, weight monitoring behavior (particularly self-weighing) is relatively understudied and poorly understood, and a controversy has erupted regarding its use as a tool for weight control. To elucidate this issue, the objective of this project is to quantitatively examine the physiological, psychological, and behavioral factors associated with weight monitoring behavior. In the Spring of 2009, sample of UWM undergraduates completed series of survey instruments assessing demographics, weight monitoring behavior (e.g., self-weighing frequency), dietary intake, disordered eating, physical activity, body image, and self-esteem. Multivariate statistical methods will be used to examine associations between weight monitoring behavior and body weight status, psychological factors, and healthy and unhealthy eating and activity behaviors. This project will provide foundational knowledge about the individual-level factors associated with weight monitoring among adults, and inform health researchers, clinicians, and educators about weight monitoring for the prevention and treatment of eating disorders and overweight and obesity.

Tasks and responsibilities:

*Entering survey data into Excel for future analysis. *Conducting literature searches on the topic (with faculty guidance). *Reading and summarizing relevant research articles on the topic (with faculty guidance). *Assistance with research poster preparation for conference presentation(s) (as needed). *Other tasks may be assigned based on student skill and interest.