Maintaining #Weight Loss is as Important as Losing it for #Postmenopusal women

New research has shown that gaining weight back after intentional weight loss is associated with negative long-term effects on some cardiometabolic (CM) risk factors in postmenopausal women.

Researchers wanted to look at how weight regain affects health risk in postmenopusal women, specifically on CM factors which include blood pressure, HDL and LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting glucose and insulin. Results showed that all CM risk factors improved with weight loss, but most regressed back to their baseline values 12 months later, especially for women who were classified as ‘regainers. For women who had regained weight in the year after their weight loss, several risk factors were actually worse than before they lost the weight.

The researchers evaluated 112 obese, postmenopausal women averaging 58 years of age, through a five-month weight loss intervention and a subsequent 12 month non-intervention period. Body weight/composition and CM risk factors were analysed before and after the weight loss intervention and at six and 12 months after the intervention. During the intervention, women lost, an average of 25 pounds (a significant amount), and 80 women returned for at least one followup measurement. Weight regain status was based on whether a participant regained at least four pounds during the follow-up period. Two-thirds of the women fell into this category and, on average, regained approximately 70 percent of lost weight. Further, it was found that when postmenopausal women lost weight and gained it back, they regained it mostly in the form of fat, rather than muscle.

The research showed that for postmenopausal women, even partial weight regain following intentional weight loss was associated with increased cardiometabolic risk. Conversely, maintenance of or continued weight loss is associated with sustained improvement in the cardiometabolic profile. So for overweight, older women is to approach weight loss as a permanent lifestyle change, with weight maintenance just as important as weight loss.

This work was supported by the NIH (R01-AG/DK20583, R01-HL093713 and F32-AG039186), Wake Forest University Claude D Pepper Older Americans Independence Center (P30- AG21332), and Wake Forest University General Clinical Research Center (M01-RR07122). Co-authors are: Barbara Nicklas, Ph.D., and Mary F. Lyles, M.D., of Wake Forest Baptist.Journal of Gerontology: Medical sciences


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