Study Reveals the Effects of Weight Cycling on Women’s Heart


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About 80 percent of the people who lose more than 10 percent of their total body weight end up regaining it in less than a year. Losing weight for a short duration of time and then regaining it is known as yo-yo dieting, also known as weight cycling.

While the effects of yo-yo dieting have been in the negative in previous research, it is now being examined for its particular effects on cardiovascular women.

A recent study has strived to examine the effects of weight cycling on seven different risk factors of heart diseases. The findings of these studies were presented at the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Epidemiology and Prevention | Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health 2019 Scientific Sessions.

Weight Cycling and Heart Health

The research took into account 485 women with an average age of 37 years and a median BMI of 26. The participant told the investigators how often they lost at least 10 pounds in their lives and regained it within the year.

The researchers also assessed the women’s health with a risk factor used by AHA to establish their ideal cardiovascular health criteria.

In this program, seven different modifiable risk factors are used to assess the heart health of a person. These factors include smoking status, physical activity, diet, weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood glucose.

Overall speaking, about 73 percent of the women included in the study said that they went through at least one episode of weight cycling. These women were at 82 percent lesser chances of having a healthy BMI which is between 18.5 to 25, according to the medical communities.

These women were also 65 percent less likely to be in the optimal range as defined by the software in use. The AHA has noticed that people who fall within the optimal range has a reduced risk of stroke and heart diseases as compared to those in the poor ranges.

In the current study, the side effects of weight cycling were more prominent in women who had not conceived previously. These women had no history of pregnancy and were younger and might be among those who started going through weight cycling at younger ages.

The scientists say that it is important to identify critical periods for checking the effects of weight cycling in the risk of heart diseases throughout life. It is also important to find if it is worse for women who start dieting at early age.

However, scientists also emphasize how this study was unable to establish causality. The team did not determine whether weight cycling negatively impacts on the ability of a person to adhere to the healthy range of AHA or if the reverse holds true.

The study is under consideration for getting extended for 5 to 10 years. This will help confirm the already-existing results while giving the scientists a chance to observe its long-term effects.

The current findings cannot be generalized for men. However, prior research has indicated similar findings in men who were at an increased risk of cardiovascular health due to weight cycling.


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Samantha Issac
Samantha is a graduate of Medicine with masters in Public Health. Most of her writings are in medicinal tools, technology, and treatments. In addition to that, she is a freelance healthcare writer based in the USA.

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