Weighing people is of crucial importance in anorexia. For something that sounds quite simple there are a number of issues to think about including the privacy and dignity of patients, what they wear while they are being weighed and whether they are able to falsify their weights or not. A team of researchers from the Phoenix Centre in Fulbourn, Cambridgeshire looked into this in a survey of 20 former patients and 98 health professionals. The majority of professionals in outpatient settings said that they weighed patients in normal or light clothing, while in inpatient units the majority said that they weighed patients in underwear. The percentage of patients weighed in underwear who were comfortable with this was double that of those weighed in normal clothing and patients overwhelmingly recommended that weighing should be in underwear; the patients were more concerned with the accuracy of their weight measurement than issues of privacy and dignity. More than half of the ex patients reported having falsified their weights in the outpatient setting and the patients who got weighed in their underwear were just as likely to falsify their weights. The patients who got weighed in clothes falsified their weights by carrying heavy items in their pockets while those who got weighed in their underwear falsified their weights by drinking lots of water before they got weighed.
Jaffa, Tony, Davies, Sarah and Sardesai, Anagha - What patients with anorexia nervosa should wear when they are being weighed: report of two pilot surveys European Eating Disorders Review