Can A Smart Bathroom Scale Make You Any Healthier?
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Can A Smart Bathroom Scale Make You Any Healthier?

Some argue that app connectivity makes a pound counter more helpful, but others say it merely gussies up an outmoded barometer of health.

By JANINE ANNETT
Tue, Jun 14, 2022 2:01pmGrey Clock 4 min

USING A BATHROOM SCALE once meant nervously watching a literal needle wiggle around until it settled on a number, whether dismaying or encouraging. In 2022, such scales have gone the way of the slide projector and Rolodex, replaced by newer digital versions that employ more-advanced technology. But in an era when nearly every device is smart whether we like it or not, even these might be headed for obsolescence.

Some doctors and personal trainers argue that it’s high time we all embraced smart bathroom scales that do much more than display your weight. Step on one and it sends a mild electrical current through your body to gather data. Because fat and water resist electricity differently, the scale can use a process called Bioelectric Impedance Analysis to measure how much of each your body has. It then sends this data to an app on your phone, uses software to estimate other metrics and keeps track of how each changes in your body over time.

It’s a pretty neat trick, but not all healthcare professionals are convinced this data is a useful way to measure one’s overall health. (And some experts would rather you ditch all bathroom scales entirely.) So is a smart scale a smart move? Here, we present both sides of the issue.

Yes, a smart scale can help you keep tabs on important health statistics.

If you want to lose or gain weight, maintain your current weight, add muscle or decrease body fat, proponents say a smart scale can help you measure and analyze your progress toward these goals much better than scales that can’t track data.

Their argument is simple: You can’t change what you do not understand. “Self-monitoring is a key strategy for making any behavior change or setting a personal goal,” said Dr. Robert F. Kushner, a weight management expert and professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. And while both smart and unconnected scales let you measure weight, only a smart scale automatically helps you track how that weight fluctuates, revealing how your body responds to any lifestyle changes you are making. Theoretically, you could track this yourself with pen and paper. But who has the time?

Jake Sarnowski, a 40-year-old product manager, was already struggling to balance an exercise routine with the demands of family life. Then, with his wife and two children, he moved to Woodbury, Minn., a place distinguished, as he put it, by “a lot of deep-fried cheese curds.” He hadn’t owned a scale for years, but when he spotted a smart scale from Wyze on sale last October, he bought it. He said he values the way it lets him keep tabs on his weight. “It’s my product-manager instinct kicking in. Whatever is measured is improved,” he said.

You can usually get the extra features of a smart scale without paying extra—many cost about the same (or even less) than “dumb” digital alternatives. The Wyze Scale X, a new release from the company that also makes smart home security devices, can measure 13 body composition metrics. You can find other models, like the Etekcity ESF24 Smart Fitness Scale that measures the same metrics, or more opulent options, like the In body H20N, which includes a handlebar that allows it to more accurately measure data from the top half of your body, instead of relying on estimates. Fans say any of these could help you meet your fitness goals, provided you don’t mind immediately checking your phone after stepping on the scale.

No, a smart scale encourages you to fixate on the wrong kind of health data.

Not everyone feels people need the extra information a smart scale provides. Maryelizabeth Carter, owner of Underground Trainers, a boutique personal fitness service in Rutherford, N.J., said most folks just don’t need real-time access to information as granular as their bone mass and their metabolic age. These measures can be hard to understand, especially without active guidance from a medical professional. And Ms. Carter said getting too caught up in the numbers can actually lead to unhealthy behaviours. “You can lose track of your overall objectives. Being in good physical shape is dependent on healthy eating and living, not just the information provided by a scale,” she said. An old-fashioned scale, by comparison, only provides data that you might actually know how to use.

Some experts go further and question whether weighing yourself at all is a good idea. Hannah Coakley, a registered dietitian and nutrition therapist in Brooklyn who specializes in eating disorder treatment and recovery, said scales—smart or not—can do more harm than good. “Study after study shows that when we take a weight-first approach to health, it simply doesn’t work,” said Mx. Coakley, who uses the gender-neutral honorific. “Leading with weight can be ultimately damaging or stigmatizing. There are other ways to look at health.” If you want to spend money on something that will improve your health, they recommend a subscription to a meditation app or a gym membership (“not to burn calories but to move your body”). And for an option that won’t cost anything, “get outside and do what makes you feel good.”

Anna Millhiser, a 36-year-old vice president of client success and hospital partnerships who lives in Baltimore, wasn’t too worried about how tracking weight could impact her health when she bought a Garmin smart scale about five years ago. But once its batteries ran out, she felt no need to replace them. “I realized weighing myself wasn’t high on my priority list, so I just stopped and life went on,” she said. “It’s been dead for probably two years.”

 

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: June 13, 2022

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The 390-acre property has 2 miles of frontage on the Rogue River

By LIBERTINA BRANDT
Tue, Sep 27, 2022 8:47am 2 min

Former “Dallas” star Patrick Duffy is putting his roughly 390-acre Oregon ranch on the market for $14 million.

The property sits along the Rogue River outside the city of Medford in southern Oregon, according to Alan DeVries of Sotheby’s International Realty, who has the listing with colleague Matt Cook.

Mr. Duffy said he bought the first roughly 130 acres of the property in 1990 for roughly $1.5 million with his late wife, Carlyn Rosser. The couple spent roughly two decades and about $3 million buying surrounding properties when they went up for sale, said the actor, who has made the ranch his primary home since the early 2000s.

“My family always felt like we were stewards as opposed to owners,” said Mr. Duffy, 73. “We kept the boundaries sacred.”

Mr. Duffy said he first saw the property while fishing with a friend. The property contained a few structures, including what is now the main house, but was mostly wilderness, he said.

“It was pristine,” he said. “There was no paved road. There were some trails through the woods and about a mile—a little less than a mile—of river frontage.”

Mr. Duffy said he flew Ms. Rosser out to see the ranch, and they bought it. The main house has four bedrooms, and connects to a gallery where the couple displayed their art collection. They converted a caretaker’s cottage into a one-bedroom guesthouse with a loft. They also added a building that contains a hot tub overlooking the river, a structure for an indoor lap pool, and a wine cellar built into the side of a mountain, all within walking distance of each other.

As they purchased adjacent properties over the years, they acquired eight more houses and several pastures that are rented out to local ranchers. One of the homes was demolished, six are rented to tenants, and one is used as the ranch manager’s house, according to Mr. Duffy.

“We became a working ranch but not with our own animals,” he said. “It added the most beautiful, bucolic sense of the place.”

A homestead that dates back over 100 years still sits at the entrance to the property, he said. In it he found an old stove, which he restored and put in the main house. But the majority of the roughly 390 acres remains wilderness. The property now has approximately 2 miles of river frontage, according to Mr. DeVries.

For roughly a decade, Mr. Duffy and Ms. Rosser used the ranch as a family getaway from their primary home in Los Angeles. Then in the early 2000s, when their children went off to college, they decided to move there full time.

Ms. Rosser died in 2017, and Mr. Duffy said he plans to move full-time to either California or Colorado. He will keep a few parcels of land that aren’t attached to the main ranch, according to Mr. DeVries.

Mr. Duffy is well-known for his role as Bobby Ewing in the TV drama “Dallas,” which ran from 1978 to 1991. He also played Frank Lambert on the 1990s sitcom “Step By Step.” Today he runs an online sourdough business, called Duffy’s Dough, with his partner, Linda Purl.

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