- Yo-yo dieting, also known as weight cycling, refers to the repeated loss and gain of weight.
- The risk of death from heart disease increases among postmenopausal women who follow yo-yo dieting, finds a new study.
- Weight cycling in the normal-weight women was associated with a 66 percent increased risk for coronary heart disease deaths.
"Weight cycling is an emerging global health concern associated with attempts of weight loss, but there have been inconsistent results about the health hazards for those who experience weight cycling behavior," said Somwail Rasla, M.D., study lead author and internal medicine resident at Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island, Alpert Medical School, Brown University, in Providence, Rhode Island.
‘Weight cycling in postmenopausal women may increase the risk of sudden cardiac death as well as coronary heart disease mortality.’
AdvertisementLink Between Yo-Yo Dieting and Risk of Heart disease Death
It is unknown whether losing and regaining weight in adulthood also increases the risk of death from coronary heart disease and cardiac death. The investigators looked at the relationship among postmenopausal women. The study involved 158,063 post-menopausal who were categorized into four groups based on their self-reported weight history. The categories include stable weight, steady gain, maintained weight loss, and weight cycling.
During a follow-up of 11.4 years, the researchers found:
Women who were considered normal weight at the start of the study who lost and regained weight had about three and a half times higher risk of sudden cardiac death than women whose weight remained stable.
In normal weight women, yo-yo dieting increased the risk of coronary heart disease death by 66 percent. However, there was no increase in either type of mortality among overweight or obese women. Similarly, no increase in death occurred among women who reported that they gained weight but did not lose it or, in the opposite scenario, that they lost weight without gaining it back.
Studies have shown that overweight increases the risk of dying from types of heart disease. The first type is coronary heart disease, a condition in which the blood vessels to the heart become blocked by fat deposits and other substances, decreasing blood flow to the heart. The second type is sudden cardiac death. The heart's electrical system abruptly stops working, causing death.
Limitations of the Study
It was an observational study. Thus the researchers were able to show association and not a cause and effect relationship.
The study relied on self-reports, which could be inaccurate. Since sudden cardiac death occurred relatively infrequently, the cases that did occur could have resulted from chance. Finally, the study included only older women.
"More research is needed before any recommendations can be made for clinical care regarding the risks of weight cycling, since these results apply only to postmenopausal women and not to younger-aged women or men," said Rasla.
The study was presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2016.
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