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How to Get an Accurate Weight Measurement

Jingze Tian, MS, RD
May 5, 2021

Measuring weight with a weight scale sounds simple: step on it, and get a weight. We always hope the number will show what we want, but sometimes we get a “weird” number - much higher or lower than usual readings. Then, we start to question the accuracy of the scale. Does this sound like you? *

Actually, the varied readings could be due to many factors that affect the measurements: where you put the scale, clothes and shoes, food and drink, and checking time, among others. To get a more accurate reading, here are some tips:

Place your scale correctly

  • Choose a hard, level surface.
  • Don’t put the scale on a carpet.
  • Make sure the scale is not moving when applying weight.

Time it right

  • Food and drink can affect the weight, always go to the bathroom before the measurement.
  • In the morning, before eating, is the best time to measure.
  • Wear light clothes, remove shoes before the measurement.
  • Eating salty foods may cause you to retain fluids for days afterward. If you see a rise of a couple lbs, think back to what you ate, and measure again in a couple days.

Stand straight, stand still

  • Don’t lean or hold on to something for balance.

Use only one scale for consistency

  • It’s not recommended to compare between scales.

Measure against a Standard:

  • Find a standard weight, such as a dumbbell that is 20 lbs or higher.
  • Weigh the dumbbell by itself. Your scale should be the same weight of the dumbbell (+/- 0.1 lb).

If you drop the scale...

  • The broken scale may give you an inaccurate reading. Please contact your Care Team to replace the device.

If all the factors above are ruled out and you feel the scale is inaccurate, please contact you Care Team.

*Please Note:

If you are diagnosed with heart failure, chronic kidney disease, chronic liver disease, or taking water pills (diuretics), the weight change may reflect a water retention/loss in your body. Please contact your doctor if you see an abnormal weight change and feel any symptoms.