“Making weight” during military service is related to binge eating and eating pathology for veterans later in life

  • Robin M. MashebEmail author
  • Amanda M. Kutz
  • Alison G. Marsh
  • Kathryn M. Min
  • Christopher B. Ruser
  • Lindsey M. Dorflinger
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Males and Eating and Weight disorders



“Making weight” behaviors are unhealthy weight control strategies intended to reduce weight in an effort to meet weight requirements. This study aimed to examine a brief measure of making weight and to investigate the relationship between making weight and weight, binge eating, and eating pathology later in life.


Participants were veterans [N = 120, mean age 61.7, mean body mass index (BMI) 38.0, 89.2% male, 74.2% Caucasian] who were overweight/obese and seeking weight management treatment. Participants completed the making weight inventory (MWI), a measure of making weight behaviors engaged in during military service, and validated measures of eating behavior. Analyses compared participants who engaged in at least one making weight behavior (MWI+) versus those who did not (MWI−).


The MWI had good internal consistency. One-third of participants were MWI+ and two-thirds were MWI−. The most frequently reported behavior was excessive exercise, reported in one-quarter of the sample, followed by fasting/skipping meals, sauna/rubber suit, laxatives, diuretics, and vomiting. MWI+ participants were significantly more likely to be in a younger cohort of veterans, to be an ethnic/racial minority, and to engage in current maladaptive eating behaviors, including binge eating, vomiting, emotional eating, food addiction, and night eating, compared to the MWI− group. Groups did not differ on BMI.


One-third of veterans who were overweight/obese screened positive for engaging in making weight behaviors during military service. Findings provide evidence that efforts to “make weight” are related to binge eating and eating pathology later in life. Future research and clinical efforts should address how to best eliminate unhealthy weight control strategies in military service while also supporting healthy weight management efforts.


Making weight Military Veterans Obesity Eating disorders 



This project was supported in part by the Veterans Affairs Health Services Research & Development (CIN 13-407) (HSR&D) Center of Innovation (COIN) Pain Research, Informatics, Multi-morbidities, and Education (PRIME) Center, West Haven, CT. The content of this research is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the VA or the Veterans Health Administration.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee (Human Studies Subcommittee at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System) and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

Waiver of informed consent was granted by IRB at VA CT Healthcare System.


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. government work and its text is not subject to copyright protection in the United States; however, its text may be subject to foreign copyright protection 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robin M. Masheb
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Amanda M. Kutz
    • 3
  • Alison G. Marsh
    • 1
  • Kathryn M. Min
    • 4
  • Christopher B. Ruser
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lindsey M. Dorflinger
    • 5
  1. 1.The Veterans Initiative for Eating and Weight/11ACSLGVA Connecticut Healthcare SystemWest HavenUSA
  2. 2.Yale School of MedicineNew HavenUSA
  3. 3.VA Salt Lake City Health Care SystemSalt Lake CityUSA
  4. 4.Graduate Institute of Professional PsychologyUniversity of HartfordWest HartfordUSA
  5. 5.Independent ScholarArlingtonUSA

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