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Author Topic: Good balance beam scales in all libraries -- what do you think?  (Read 1821 times)

Offline Caleb

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I bought a balance beam scale for two libraries here in Oregon about 10 years ago -- the only two that responded positively to the offer that the State Librarian sent out via email to all the librarians. Both are in use, and one is just south of me at Wilsonville Library. The other is in Hermiston, Oregon, at Blue Mountain Community College.

My reasoning goes like this:

A lot of people don't have easy access to good scales and this seems to be a very inexpensive way to reach many people, especially those without much money and who can benefit themselves and their family members by weighing themselves. (A local library system said that if people wanted to weigh themselves,they should go to their doctor's offices or to their health clubs. Seemed a ridiculous answer then and seems even worse now about 10 years later. So many of their patrons don't go to health clubs, can't wait for their yearly medical checkup to weigh themselves -- if indeed they can afford yearly checkups.)

A lot of weight problems -- including relapse weight problems -- can be prevented if people weigh themselves regularly. Also, it teaches people that weighing themselves is not that scary or humiliating, etc. (The Wilsonville scale had broken about 5 years ago and I replaced it. As I brought a new scale in, one of the patrons, a slender somewhat elderly woman, cheerfully said, "Good! Now I can weigh  myself again! I think I am still at 127 [or some very healthy number, it seemed to me]," and she was at that number.)

Libraries have a function of being able to provide important information at no cost to the individual and it seems to me that providing weight scales fits within this framework.

Getting in the habit of weighing oneself regularly is a very healthy behavior, one that most of us should engage in. (I have talked to librarians who said that people would be too embarrassed to weigh themselves in public, but many people have enjoyed doing so, and thus the "embarrassment" seems to be greatly overstated. At the same time, teaching people to be less embarrassed about getting on a scale seems a good goal -- better than ignoring the problem until it is uncontrollable and unhealthy -- and no one HAS to weigh themselves anyway.)

On the other hand, there is probably less incentive for scales to be made publicly available -- say, in a shopping mall -- because that may well interfere with sales of food.

Any thoughts about this? Individually, it would cost very, very close to nothing to an individual for their local library to have a good scale, but the health benefits would be significant (especially given the prevalence of diabetes 2, hypertension, etc.).

Yours,

Caleb
« Last Edit: 30/05/2014 17:31:08 by Caleb »


 

Offline dlorde

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It's a thought, although libraries in the UK seem to have a disappointingly low visitor count, and when I visit my local library, the overweight & obese are notable by their absence; there are quite a few disabled users though...
 

Offline CliffordK

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I'm not convinced that a balance beam scale is any better than an old analog bathroom scale, or a digital scale, although perhaps it needs less calibration.

I do watch my weight a bit when I'm dieting, but otherwise I don't believe it is good to obsess over one's weight.  The pinch test is good enough for me.

Is there any quiet exercise equipment for use in a library?  Perhaps an exercise mat, and a note on the wall explaining how to stretch, do push-ups, pull-ups, and sit-ups.  Personally I believe elevators should be hidden in a corner for those that truly need them, and stairs should be a prominent architectural feature.

And, of course, "bicycle friendly".  Bicycle paths, and bicycle racks.  I find it annoying to find public buildings with no bicycle racks.

Some drug stores also have fancy chairs that take one's pulse and blood pressure, perhaps as important as one's weight, although undoubtedly buying new automatic BP machines is more expensive than a good scale.
« Last Edit: 31/05/2014 00:14:04 by CliffordK »
 

Offline Caleb

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According to Krista Varady, PhD, daily weighing is associated with greater weight loss and also with maintaining weight loss. I sure have talked to many very overweight people who refuse to get on a scale. Too bad they didn't get on scales early and often -- might have increased their motivation to reduce they body weight. Harder to change our behavior if we refuse to look at relevant health data.

About balance beam vs digital -- I like a balance beam myself, but a digital would be okay too.

A balance beam is at eye-height and the information is much clearer to me than a digital scale located on the floor. (My vision is not optimal and it never was.) Somehow, a balance beam scale seems more substantial to me -- especially as the weight will remain on the scale until one moves the indicator from the balanced position. Therefore, one can more easily write down the weight, etc., while looking straight ahead at the indicator.

But too each her/his own.

I think a lot of families would benefit from the easy availability of scales -- if not in the UK, then certainly in the US.

Yours,

Caleb
 

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