Weight Loss Middle-Aged Women Health Benefits
December 20, 2013

Modest Weight Loss Reduces Diabetes And Heart Disease Risk In Middle-aged Women

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Middle-aged women who are overweight or obese could reduce the risk factors associated with diabetes and heart disease by losing at least 10 percent of their body weight over a 24 month period, according to research appearing in the latest edition of the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Dr. Cynthia A. Thomson, a professor at the University of Arizona’s Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, and her colleagues analyzed 417 women who took part in weight-loss programs for periods of up to two years.

Those who shed at least one-tenth of their body weight also experienced a reduction in their total cholesterol, LDL or 'bad' cholesterol, HDL or 'good' cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin, glucose and inflammation markers, the American Heart Association (AHA) said in a statement Wednesday. Furthermore, her team discovered that those patients who were most at-risk when the study started were the ones that benefitted the most from the modest weight loss.

“It is challenging to lose weight, but if women commit to losing 10 percent of their body weight and sustain that over time, it can have a large impact on overall risk factors associated with heart disease and diabetes,” said Dr. Thomson, who is also the director of the Canyon Ranch Center for Prevention & Health Promotion in Tucson.

“Our study revealed the need for healthcare providers to provide women with longer-term support for weight control. It seems to pay off in terms of modifying risk factors for obesity-related disease,” she added. “The good news is that when you lose weight long-term, you just don’t move to a smaller dress size, you are actually moving these risk factors markedly and likely reducing your risk of heart disease and diabetes.”

The study, which was funded by Carlsbad, California-based weight management company Jenny Craig, featured women who were an average of 44 years old and weighed nearly 200 pounds at the study. They were recruited from the areas surrounding the University of California, San Diego; the University of Minnesota; the University of Arizona and the Kaiser Permanente Center Northwest in Portland, Oregon.

According to Thomson, a sizable percentage of women in the US said that they weigh more in their forties than they did during their teenage years. The factors that could impact weight gain in middle-aged women include menopause, having gone through multiple pregnancies, or working long hours at sedentary jobs. The researchers also said that women tend to have the most success in the first six months of a short-term weight-loss program.