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WiFi Body Scale: Tweeting Your Way to Less Pounds?

Friday, November 20, 2009 Posted by Peter Janiszewski, PhD

Travis and I often remind our readers that adopting healthy behaviours is the goal, even if weight loss does not occur. That is, simply improving your current diet and increasing your daily physical activity will make you healthier and reduce your chance of countless diseases regardless of whether or not the number on your scale budges. However, the huge caveat to this notion is that individuals who adopt these healthy behaviours AND manage to lose at least 5-10% of their weight will benefit the most.

Additionally, while we often suggest that people look beyond the bathroom scale when adopting a healthy lifestyle, a number of studies have shown that the regular use of a scale may actually be helpful when it comes to losing weight.

For example, Vanwormer and colleagues nicely summarized the effect of regular weighing on weight loss in a systematic review of the literature published just last year. They included a total of 12 individual studies in their final analysis and found a number of interesting trends.

Evidence from 11 of the 12 studies suggested that more frequent self-weighing was associated with greater weight loss or weight gain prevention, with those individuals who weighed themselves daily or weekly having about a 1-3kg weight loss lead on their non-weighing counterparts.

A more recent prospective cohort study (2009) by the same authors provides further evidence of the positive effect of regular self-weighing on weight-loss success. In this study, 100 obese subjects were enrolled in a 6 month behavioural weight-loss program (consisting of telephone counseling and a written manual) which encouraged subjects to regularly weigh themselves. The study found that participants lost an additional 1 pound of weight for every 11 days they weighed-themselves. Looking at the data another way, individuals who weighed themselves at least weekly were more than 10 times as likely to reach a weight-loss of 5% (considered the cut-point for clinically significant weight loss) at the end of the 6 month intervention.
Thus, self-monitoring of your weight may be helpful if weight-loss is your goal.

While it is a VERY rare occurrence that we actually like a product, a new gadget I came across online while in Vancouver actually struck me as rather neat – especially given what I described above. The gadget I am alluding to is the Withings WiFi Body Scale, a bathroom scale which can do the following:

1) Assess your body fat percentage using bioimpedance (albeit pretty inaccurately)

2) Via WiFi connection, it can upload your daily body weight, % body fat, and BMI to a secure online tracking website or a specifically made iPhone app. That’s right – everytime you step on the scale it automatically tracks your information via whatever means you choose.

3) It allows you to set up profiles for up to 8 different people, so that all can individually track their weight on a regular basis.

4) Lastly (and this may be a bit much), for those on Twitter, and who like to be publically accountable for their progress, you can set up the WiFi Body Scale to automatically tweet your weight to all your followers.

If you’d like to purchase the Withings WiFi Body Scale, you can click here to purchase for 159.00 at

While the price is a bit outside of my budget, this falls into the very small category of gadgets which I would actually like to own.

You can also view a brief video below on how the WiFi Body Scale works (email subscribers please log onto Obesity Panacea to view).

Have a great weekend,


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Vanwormer JJ, French SA, Pereira MA, & Welsh EM (2008). The Impact of Regular Self-weighing on Weight Management: A Systematic Literature Review. The international journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity, 5 PMID: 18983667

VanWormer JJ, Martinez AM, Martinson BC, Crain AL, Benson GA, Cosentino DL, & Pronk NP (2009). Self-weighing promotes weight loss for obese adults. American journal of preventive medicine, 36 (1), 70-3 PMID: 18976879

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We are PhD students in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. Our research focuses on the relationships between obesity, physical activity, and health risk. This blog is our attempt to consider the many "cures" for obesity that we read about on a daily basis. Enjoy.


The opinions expressed here belong only to Peter and Travis and do not reflect the views of any organization. Any medical discussion on this page is intended to be of a general nature only. This page is not designed to give specific medical advice. If you have a medical problem you should consult your own physician for advice specific to your own situation.

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