Having access to a scale is essential for individuals to engage in self-weighing; however, few studies examine scale access, particularly among low-income individuals. Our objectives were to (i) determine how many public housing residents have access to a scale and (ii) describe their self-weighing habits. We conducted a cross-sectional survey of public housing residents in Baltimore, MD, from August 2014 to August 2015. Participants answered questions about their access to a scale ('yes'/'no') and daily self-weighing habits ('no scale/never or hardly ever' vs. 'some/about half/much of the time/always'). We used t-tests or chi-square tests to examine the association of scale access with respondent characteristics. Overall, 266 adults participated (48% response rate). Mean age was 45 years with 86% women, 95% black and 54% with obesity. Only 32% had access to a scale; however, 78% of those with this access reported engaging in some self-weighing. Residents who lacked access to a scale were younger (P = 0.03), and more likely to be unemployed/disabled (P = 0.01) or food insecure (P < 0.01). While few public housing residents have access to a scale, those who do report daily self-weighing with some regularity. Financial hardship may influence scale access in this population, as potential proxies of this status were associated with no scale access.
- public housing
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