Scales: Helpful or Harmful?

Playing Scales: Helpful or Harmful?

One Canadian university has removed all the body-weight scales from its gym. The school cited concerns about eating disorders, but students have asked that they be returned. Are scales a useful tool for tracking one’s health, or an invitation to obsess over numbers?

Rosie Mercado admits that she had an obsessive relationship with her scale. “I would weigh myself first thing in the morning, in the middle of the day, at night. If I gained one pound I was going psychotic about it!” She concludes, “I think if it becomes obsessive, it becomes a danger.”

Watch: Body Fat Scale Investigation: Do They Work?

ER Physician Dr. Travis Stork counters, “But then other people will say ‘I weigh myself once a week and I can keep track of my progress.’ I think it can be either a positive or a negative, depending on how you use it.”

Rosie adds that removing the scales doesn’t really address eating disorders – if this is a problem on campus, the university needs to provide someone for students to talk to. “The problem’s going to exist whether the scale’s there or not!”

Watch: Body Fat Scale Investigation: The Results!

Actress and designer NeNe Leakes wishes scales were banned everywhere! She’s not a fan. Dr. Stork, on the other hand, weighs himself every week or so – but, he says, “I look at it from a medical perspective.” Plastic Surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon notes that unexplained weight gain or weight loss can indicate a medical problem – and a scale can give you a helpful warning that it’s time to see the doctor.