When you're postmenopausal and overweight, losing weight is a good thing, but gaining back just a few pounds may actually be detrimental to your cardiovascular health.
New research from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center found that gaining weight back after intentional weight loss is associated with negative long-term effects on some cardiometabolic (CM) risk factors in postmenopausal women.
In this paper, published online by the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, lead authors Daniel Beavers, Ph.D., and Kristen Beavers, Ph.D., wanted to look at how weight regain affects health risk in these women. The researchers looked specifically at CM risk factors - a cluster of risk factors that are indicators of a person's overall risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. They include blood pressure, HDL and LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting glucose and insulin.
"In this group of women, weight loss and maintaining that loss offers the most health benefit, but therein lies the problem," Daniel Beavers said. "For most people, weight regain after intentional weight loss is an expected occurrence, and the long-term health ramifications of weight regain in older adults are not well understood."
Specifically, the researchers looked at how CM risk factors change in the year following significant, intentional weight loss and whether these changes are affected by weight regain.
"What we found was that all CM risk factors are improved with weight loss, which is not surprising, but most regressed back to their baseline values 12 months later, especially for women who were classified as 'regainers,'" Kristen Beavers said. "For women who had regained weight in the year after their weight loss, several risk factors were actually worse than before they lost the weight."