In a study of 417 women participating in weight loss programs for up to 24 months, those who sustained a 10 percent or more loss of their body weight for two years reduced their total cholesterol, LDL "bad" cholesterol, HDL "good" cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin, glucose and inflammation markers.
Women who had the highest levels of risk at the start of the study benefitted the most from modest weight loss.
"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," Cynthia A. Thomson from the University of Arizona Canyon Ranch Center for Prevention and Health Promotion in Tucson, said.
Thomson said their 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.
The study is published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.