New Research: Long-Term Benefits of Weight Loss

The Joslin Diabetes Center released information from a recent study showing that weight loss and the cardiovascular benefits associated continue for at least five years into the future. This intense life-style intervention program, specifically designed for obese patients with diabetes, is referred to as the Why WAIT (Weight Achievement and Intensive Management) program.

The study led by Dr. Osama Hamdy followed 129 Why WAIT participants with an average body-mass index (BMI) of 38. After the initial 12 week intervention, participants showed an average loss of body weight of 9.7% (about 24 pounds) and maintained an average loss of 6.4% (about 16 pounds at five years). Dr. Hamdy explains, “This weight loss was very impressive, since we know from previous research that if this population can maintain a 7% weight loss, they show a marked improvement in insulin sensitivity and many other cardiovascular risk factors.”

Dr. Hamdy and his team also found that reaching the target 7% weight loss after just one year was a good predictor of maintaining weight loss over longer periods. The researchers divided the participants into 2 groups, separated by whether or not they achieved the 7% level of weight loss after a year. The group that did NOT reach the goal saw an average weight loss of 3.5% after five years, while the second group (which was slightly larger) maintained an average loss of 9% at the time.

The weight loss results were reflected in measurements of three main markers: hemoglobin A1C (blood glucose), LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol). The higher-weight-loss group saw average A1C level drop from 7.4% to 6.4% at 12 weeks and then slowly climb to 7.3% over the five years. The lower-weight-loss group did not drop below 6.7% and rose to 8.0% at five years. Moreover, the higher-weight-loss group maintained improvements in their LDL and HDL levels and showed lower blood pressure at 18 months.

Hamdy’s Why WAIT program was launched in 2005 and aims to deliver an achievable combination of nutritional, exercise, medication, learning and monitoring offerings. In studies comparing Why WAIT with two common types of weight loss surgery, it was found that patients in the intervention program reported better or equal improvement in quality of life.

In conclusion, participants in the Why WAIT program lost substantial amounts of weight and even those who maintained relatively little loss of weight after five years demonstrated reduced risks of cardiovascular disease.

Original Source: Joslin Diabetes Center

Last updated on January 22, 2017, posted in: News, Recent research by
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