Regaining weight after menopause risky

January 1, 2013

Researchers at the Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, have found that regaining weight after losing it may be harmful to the health of postmenopausal women.

 

Researchers at the Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, have found that regaining weight after losing it may be harmful to the health of postmenopausal women. In a study of 80 overweight and obese women whose average age was 58, researchers hoped to determine how cardiometabolic risk factors changed in the year following significant intentional weight loss in postmenopausal women, and if observed changes were affected by weight and fat regain.

The women were followed through a 5-month weight loss intervention and a subsequent 12-month nonintervention period. Body weight/composition and cardiometabolic risk factors (blood pressure; total, high-density lipoprotein, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol; triglycerides; fasting glucose and insulin; and homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance [HOMA-IR]) were analyzed at baseline, immediately postintervention, and at 6 months and 12 months postintervention.

Average weight loss during the 5-month intervention was 11.4±4.1kg, and 31.4% of lost weight was regained during the 12-month follow-up. On average, all risk factor variables were significantly improved with weight loss but regressed toward baseline values during the year subsequent to weight loss, the researchers reported. Increases in total cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, insulin, and HOMA-IR during the postintervention follow-up were significantly (P<.05) associated with weight and fat mass regain. Among women who regained weight, model-adjusted total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, insulin, and HOMA-IR were higher at follow-up compared with baseline.

The researchers concluded that for postmenopausal women, even partial weight regain following intentional weight loss is associated with increased cardiometabolic risk. Conversely, they claim, weight maintenance or continued weight loss is associated with sustained improvement in the cardiometabolic profile.

Beavers DP, Beavers KM, Lyles MF, Nicklas BJ. Cardiometabolic risk after weight loss and subsequent weight regain in overweight and obese postmenopausal women. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2012. Epub ahead of print.