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Modest weight loss may reduce health risks in middle-aged women

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  • Modest weight loss may reduce health risks in middle-aged women

    According to a report released by the American Heart Association, overweight or obese middle-aged women who lost modest amounts of weight over a two-year span reduced their cholesterol levels and improved the outlook on their health.Lab tests helped determine a decrease in glucose and insulin numbers, possibly leading to a positive impact on the risk of developing diabetes or heart disease.

    Published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the study examined a group of 417 women at an average age of 44 who weighed around 200 pounds at the beginning of testing. The participants who experienced a 10 percent or greater loss of their body weight also reduced their total cholesterol and inflammation markers. Women who benefited most from the modest weight loss had the highest risk levels before the study began.

    "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," said Cynthia Thomson, Ph.D., co-author and director of the University of Arizona Canyon Ranch Center for Prevention & Health Promotion in Tucson.

    There are numerous factors that might affect weight gain in women who are middle-aged, including repeated pregnancies and sedentary jobs and lifestyles. According to Thomson, a large percentage of American women feel they weigh much more at middle-age than they did in their younger years.

    "The good news is that when you lose weight long-term, you just don't move to a smaller dress size, you are actually moving these risk factors markedly and likely reducing your risk of heart disease and diabetes," concluded Thomson.

    Working with health care providers
    Researchers believe that women who excel in short-term programs continue to do well in the first six months of weight loss. With the risk of developing poor health conditions due to obesity and poor diets, health care providers should assist their patients in controlling their weight. They should provide long-term support with weight loss and work to assess risk factors of diabetes or heart disease.

    Additionally, patients can help themselves by ordering lab tests online to test their cholesterol levels and keep their diet in check. Constant monitoring of their health can go a long way in preventing malignant conditions from emerging later in life.
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