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The association between the development of weighing technology, possession and use of weighing scales, and self-reported severity of disordered eating

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Bruce Charlton


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The aim of this study is to investigate David Healy's hypothesis that the development of weighing technologies significantly contributes to the development of anorexia nervosa. A newly developed questionnaire and the EAT-26 were used to investigate these ideas. The key results from this study are that a positive correlation between EAT-26 scores and the frequency of weighing (p a parts per thousand currency sign 0.001), and that group differences were also found between the control group and those with an EAT-26 score of 20 or above on weighing scale ownership (p = 0.017), the type of scale owned (p = 0.002) and whether people weighed themselves often (p a parts per thousand currency sign 0.001); indicating that those with a higher EAT-26 score were more likely to own weighing scales, own digital weighing scales, and weigh themselves more often. These results suggest that the increased precision and usage of weighing technologies may potentially be a causal factor in disordered eating, and as such, this idea can be extended to suggest the hypothesis that frequent and precise weighing of anorexic patients in therapy may actually be counter-productive.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Walsh DJ, Charlton BG

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Irish Journal of Medical Science

Year: 2014

Volume: 183

Issue: 3

Pages: 471-475

Print publication date: 01/09/2014

Online publication date: 09/01/2014

Acceptance date: 19/11/2013

ISSN (print): 0021-1265

ISSN (electronic): 1863-4362

Publisher: Springer London


DOI: 10.1007/s11845-013-1047-2


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