Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Weight Regain After Loss Potentially Dangerous for Postmenopausal Women

From the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center 12 December 2011 press release

…shedding the pounds may have some negative consequences on the overall health of older women if the weight loss is not maintained, according to a new study by researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the study showed that some older women who lose weight gain a lot of their weight back within a year. Importantly, the weight regained is mostly in the form of fat, rather than muscle.

“The body composition of some of the women was worse than before their weight loss,” said Barbara Nicklas, Ph.D., a gerontologist at the J. Paul Sticht Center on Aging and Rehabilitation at Wake Forest Baptist and principal investigator for the study. “When older women lose weight, they also lose lean mass. Most women will gain a lot of the weight back, but the majority of the weight regained is fat.”…

 

“Most people will regain their weight after they lose it.” Nicklas said. “Young people tend to regain weight in the proportion that they lost it. But the older women in our study did not appear to be regaining the muscle that they lost during initial weight loss in the same way.”

The long term consequences of losing muscle mass in middle aged and older women is yet unknown, but in combination with the loss in bone density known to occur as we age, the loss of muscle could increase their fall risk, among other things.

“There are certainly a lot of health benefits to weight loss, if you can keep the weight off,” Nicklas said. “For older women who lose weight, however, it is particularly important that they keep the weight off and continue to eat protein and stay physically active so that, if the weight does come back, it will be regained as muscle instead of fat.”

She cautioned that the results from this study were limited to sedentary, abdominally obese, postmenopausal women, and the findings may differ in men or in younger populations….

Read the entire press release

December 29, 2011 - Posted by | Consumer Health, Nutrition | , , ,

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