‘Yo-yo’ weight loss techniques harmful to health, according to AHA
Research results presented at a New Orleans conference revealed that women who practiced this pattern were at higher risk for coronary heart disease and sudden cardiac death than those who did not.
“Weight cycling is an emerging global health concern associated with attempts of weight loss, but there have been inconsistent results about the health hazards for those who experience weight cycling behavior,” Dr. Somwail Rasla, study lead author and internal medicine resident at Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island, said.
Based on data gathered from 158,063 post-menopausal women, scientists were able to categorize four types of dieting patterns: stable weight, steady gain, maintained weight loss and weight cycling.
When researchers conducted follow-ups over an 11.4-year period, they found that weight-cycling women who began at a “normal” weight were approximately 3.5 times more likely to experience sudden cardiac death than those whose weight remained unchanged. Additionally, those individuals were at a 66 percent greater risk for coronary heart disease.
In contrast, women who were already overweight or obese at the start did not display any higher risk even with weight cycling; likewise, women who simply gained without cycling — or who lost initially without any regaining— were also at no greater risk.
While results suggest midlife weight cycling is harmful for women of normal starting weight, the study contained some inherent drawbacks: being observational, relying on self-reporting and limiting the age range, for example. However, it is widely known that heart disease is a leading cause of death both in the U.S. and globally.
“More research is needed before any recommendations can be made for clinical care regarding the risks of weight cycling,” Rasla said.
Organizations in this story
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