Moderate weight loss is strongly associated with a decrease in heart disease risk.
Tip to take away: You don’t have to lose a huge amount to make a big difference in your health. In fact, by losing just 5 to 10% of your initial body weight, you can lower your A1c, blood pressure and triglycerides. This would mean a 200 pound person would need to lose only 10 to 20 pounds. Whether you’re thinking about starting a weight loss program, or if you’re in the midst of one, be encouraged that modest weight loss can have immediate health benefits.
Study summary: The authors looked at data from the Look AHEAD study, an ongoing national study of overweight volunteers with type 2 diabetes. Look AHEAD is monitoring the effects on heart disease risk of weight loss through decreased calorie intake and physical activity. After 1 year in the study, the participants who lost 5 to 10% of their initial body weight were more likely to have lowered their HbA1c by 0.5%, blood pressure by 5 points, and triglyceride level by 40 points and to have increased HDL-cholesterol by 5 points. Individuals who lost more weight showed even more dramatic improvements in these levels. In the study, individuals were divided into a “diabetes care” group and a “lifestyle intervention” group, but those who lost at least 5% of their initial body weight showed a similar decrease in heart disease risk in both groups.
Wing RR, Lang W, Wadden TA, et al. Benefits of modest weight loss in improving cardiovascular risk factors in overweight and obese individuals with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care 2011;34:1481-1486.
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