WEDNESDAY, Oct. 9, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Among individuals with type 2 diabetes, maintaining weight loss is better than weight regain for improving cardiometabolic risk factors, according to a study published online Oct. 9 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Samantha E. Berger, Ph.D., from Tufts University in Boston, and colleagues analyzed data from 1,561 participants of the Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes) trial with ≥3 percent initial weight loss during a one-year intensive lifestyle intervention and with year 4 follow-up data. Participants who regained weight (regainers) or maintained weight loss (maintainers) were defined with dichotomized cut points of percentage weight loss regained. After controlling for demographics, medications, and baseline and year 1 change in body mass index, change in cardiometabolic risk factors was compared in maintainers and regainers after initial weight loss.

The researchers found that compared with regainers, maintainers had significant improvements in cardiometabolic risk factors. Across risk factors or sex/initial weight-loss subgroups, no weight-regain cut point maximized the risk difference between maintainers and regainers. Among maintainers, allowing more regain as part of maintenance diminished the cardiometabolic benefit for many risk factors.

“Our findings suggest that in addition to focusing on weight loss, an increased emphasis should be placed on the importance of maintaining the weight loss over the long-term,” Alice H. Lichtenstein, D.Sc., senior study author and director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, said in a statement. “The bottom line is that maintaining the majority of the weight loss is essential to reducing cardiovascular risk.”

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