The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services made this announcement on January 7, 2010:
Obese people who lose a moderate amount of weight through diet and exercise can help their heart health even if they regain some weight.
Researcher Lisa de las Fuentes of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found this in 48 people who she tracked for two years. On average, they lost about 22 pounds in six months.
They regained some of the weight – about 9 pounds. But De las Fuentes says they kept much of their benefits in changes to their hearts and arteries:
"This is just reinforcing that it doesn’t matter how you get there. It’s just that you actually lower the amount of calories you are consuming, expend more calories through exercise, and achieve weight loss," said De las Fuentes.
The study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology was supported by the National Institutes of Health. It gives encouragement to those who lose a small amount of weight and struggle to keep all of it off. The study does not address the problem of gaining back every lost pound and then some.