Cardiometabolic risk factors still improve after two years
Weight loss is associated with improvements in cardiometabolic risk factors, including serum glucose, insulin, C‐reactive protein, and blood lipids. Few studies have evaluated the long‐term (over 18 months) effect of weight loss on these risk factors or sought to identify factors associated with sustained improvements in these measures.
In a new study Dr. Cynthia A. Thomson, PhD, RD, CSO, Professor in the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and Director of the University of Arizona Canyon Ranch Center for Prevention & Health Promotion in Tucson, and co-author of study along with colleagues sought to identify predictors of weight loss–associated cardiometabolic risk factors after 12 and 24 months of intervention.
The study included 417 overweight/obese women, average age 44 years, participating in a weight loss trial.
Factors that may affect creeping weight gain in middle-aged women include sedentary jobs, repeated pregnancy and the transition to menopause. In the end, a large percent of middle-aged American women find themselves weighing much more in their forties than they weighed in their teens, said Dr. Thomson.
Total cholesterol (TC), low‐density lipoprotein (LDL)–cholesterol (LDL‐C), high‐density lipoprotein (HDL)–cholesterol, non‐HDL‐cholesterol, triglycerides (TG), insulin, glucose, C‐reactive protein (CRP), and cardiopulmonary fitness were measured at baseline and at 12 and 24 months.
After 24 months, significant reductions in body weight, waist circumference, C‐reactive protein, total cholesterol, HDL‐cholesterol, and non‐HDL‐cholesterol were observed.
After 24 months, mean total cholesterol, and non‐HDL‐cholesterol were reduced regardless of the amount of weight lost. However, reductions in LDL–cholesterol, C‐reactive protein, insulin and triglycerides were only seen in those who lost 10% and over of body weight after 24 months.
Change in weight demonstrated a positive predictive value for change in cholesterol, insulin, glucose, and triglycerides. Baseline level of the biomarker showed the greatest predictive value for follow‐up measures for insulin, cholesterol, glucose, and triglycerides.
In their conclusion the researchers write “Our data extend the results from short‐term weight loss trials and suggest that the magnitude of weight loss and baseline values for risk factors are associated with improvements in cardiometabolic risk factors even after 24 months.”
According to Dr. Thomson, "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,”
"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.”
In closing Dr. Thomson said "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.”
This study is published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.