Women who are weighed in public spaces may feel embarrassed and be less likely to attend appointments in the future, potentially increasing their risk of poor health, experts have found.
A new study from the University of Pennsylvania surveyed 292 women and 190 men and found that college-age females tend to experience high levels of discomfort at the idea of being weighed in front of other people, such as in a public area of a weight loss clinic.
Andrew Geier, lead author and a doctoral candidate in the department of psychology, commented: "Weighing concern may make these women, particularly those who are overweight and already at risk for certain ailments, less likely to visit a doctor.
"These may be the very people that need access to these clinics the most."
Publishing the findings in the journal Appetite, Mr Geier suggested that weighing patients in private could have a great impact.
"If a person knows that he or she is going to be provided privacy during the weighing process, that could be a major relief, thereby tipping the scales to get them to go and get these potentially life-saving tests," he added.