Minority and low-income patients are less likely to have a scale for self-weighing in their home: A survey in primary care

Carolyn T. Bramante, Grace Lee, Safira S. Amsili, Jennifer A. Linde, Sean M. Phelan, Lawrence J. Appel, Wendy L. Bennett, Jeanne M. Clark, Kimberly A. Gudzune

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Daily self-weighing is a weight management behaviour that requires a scale; however, scale ownership may be cost-prohibitive for some patients. Our objective was to understand the proportion of primary care patients with a scale at home, and factors associated with home scale access, to potentially inform future interventions that facilitate scale access. Cross sectional survey of 216 adult patients from three primary care clinics: mixed-income urban/suburban (n = 68); mixed-income urban (n = 70); low-income urban (n = 74). The dependent variable was presence of a home scale; bivariate associations were conducted with variables including demographics, insurance type, clinic setting and self-reported height/weight. Mean age was 53 years; 71% women; 71% racial minority; mean body mass index 32 kg/m2. Overall, 56% had a home scale. Most (79%) white patients owned a scale, compared to 46% of racial minority patients (P <.01); 33% of low-income patients owned scale, compared to over 66% of patients at the clinics serving mixed-income populations (P <.01). Most low-income urban clinic patients do not own a home scale. Because self-weighing is an effective weight-management behaviour, clinicians could consider assessing scale access, and future research should assess the health impact of providing scales to patients with overweight/obesity who desire weight loss or maintenance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12363
JournalClinical obesity
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


  • obesity
  • scale access
  • self-weighing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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