Strategies for long term #weight lost post-#menopause

In post-menopausal women, the natural decline in energy expenditure, due to a decrease in metabolic rate, and an increase in appetite related hormones can make weight loss a real challenge, but there are things women at this age can do to encourage weight loss.

 

For post menopausal women focusing on on caloric intake have poor long-term results. So research was conducted to determine if changes in eating behaviors and selected foods were associated with weight loss at six and 48 months in a group of overweight post-menopausal women.

A total of 508 women were randomized to either a Lifestyle Change group or a Health Education group. The Lifestyle Change group met regularly with nutritionists, exercise physiologists, and psychologists throughout the study. Their goals were to reduce fats and caloric intake, increase consumption of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, and participate in regular moderate exercise.

The Health Education Group was offered seminars by health professionals on general women’s health, but not specifically weight loss.

The results showed that the eating behaviors associated with weight loss at six months were:

  • eating fewer desserts
  • eating less fried food,
  • drinking fewer sugar-sweetened beverages,
  • eating more fish,
  •  eating at restaurants less.

After four years, eating fewer deserts and drinking fewer sugar-sweetened beverages continued to be associated with weight loss or maintenance. Eating more fruits and vegetables and less meat and cheese emerged as additional important predictors for long-term weight loss. Eating at restaurants declined at 48 months whether or not subjects lost weight probably due to economic factors and not relevant to the study.

The results suggest that decreased consumption of desserts and sugar-sweetened beverages consistently associate with short- and long-term weight loss or maintenance, but increased fruits and vegetables and decreased meat and cheeses are additional factors that may improve long-term weight loss or control.

The goal should aim at long-term strategies because changes in eating behaviors only associated with short-term weight loss are likely to be ineffective and unsustainable

 September issue of Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

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