Weight loss may provide cardiovascular benefits long after the diet ends.

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Cardiovascular risk reduction benefits may continue five years after weight loss program ends.

Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors

Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors

Need another reason to lose weight.  This study evidence may motivate you to lose weight.  More motivation is a good thing, and hopefully, this will push you to success.  The bottom line is that even a small amount of weight loss reduces cardiovascular risks for obese patients and it might last as long as five years after you fall off the wagon.    

A few weeks ago, I found an article on Science Daily[1] that touted the benefits of weight loss to reduce the risk of a cardiac event in people with diabetes.  This page is an editing version fo the press release from Joslin Diabetes Center.  The press release was from 4 January 2017, and it reviews the results of a study that covers the results of the program.  The study is yet to be released.  

Joslin Diabetes Center at Harvard developed an intensive lifestyle intervention program for obese patients with diabetes.  The program which is entitled “Why WAIT” or the[2].    The 12-week program is a 12-week multidisciplinary program for weight control and intensive diabetes management that is offered to those with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.  

Components of Why WAIT:

  • adjustments to diabetes medications to enhance weight reduction 
  • a structured diet with regular food and meal replacements 
  • weekly learning sessions 
  • an individualized exercise plan 
Diabetes

Diabetes

The interventions have led to significant improvement in multiple health benefits that should translate to significant cardiac risk reduction. The study followed 129 Why WAIT participants with an average body-mass index of 38 which is in the obesity range.  At 12-weeks, subjects showed an average loss of body weight of 24  pounds or 9.7% of their body weight.  They maintained an average loss of 16 pounds or 6.4% of total body mass after five years.  

The subjects also had improvements in other measures of cardiovascular risk to include blood pressure, A1C (a diabetic lab test that indicates control of illness), and cholesterol tests (LDL and HDL).  Unfortunately, the test subject did not maintain most of the lab result improvements at five years, but some did keep the result improvements at 18 months.  The key result improvement that correlates to the risk reduction was the LDL and HDL improvements, and they were maintained at five years.  

The AIC results of this study were similar to those found by Hambry in 2008[3].  In fact, another study by Hamdy from 2015, found that 2.3% of the patients on the WAIT diet developed diabetes remission[4].  Of note, remission would only occur in type 2 diabetics.  Clearly, the Why WAIT program is an excellent program to reduce cardiovascular risk and induce better control over diabetes.  

Conclusions about Why WAIT:  

Participants in the Why WAIT program lost a significant amount of weight, and some even maintained a little of the weight at five years after starting the program.  The key test is the cholesterol lab test improvements.   These improvements should correlate to cardiac risk reduction and should translate to the same benefit in non-diabetics.  

Footnotes
[1]“Cardiovascular Benefits Continue Five Years after Weight Loss Program.”
[2]“Why WAIT.”
[3]Hamdy and Carver, “The Why WAIT Program: Improving Clinical Outcomes through Weight Management in Type 2 Diabetes.”
[4]Mottalib et al., “Diabetes Remission after Nonsurgical Intensive Lifestyle Intervention in Obese Patients with Type 2 Diabetes.”
Hamdy, O, and C Carver. “The Why WAIT Program: Improving Clinical Outcomes through Weight Management in Type 2 Diabetes.” Current Diabetes Reports 8, no. 5 (October 1, 2008): 413–20. [PubMed]
Mottalib, A, M Sakr, M Shehabeldin, and O Hamdy. “Diabetes Remission after Nonsurgical Intensive Lifestyle Intervention in Obese Patients with Type 2 Diabetes.” Journal of Diabetes Research 2015 (January 1, 2015): 468704. [PubMed]
“Cardiovascular Benefits Continue Five Years after Weight Loss Program.” Science Daily, January 4, 2017. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170104154350.htm.
“Why WAIT.” Joslin Diabetes Center. Accessed January 7, 2017. http://www.joslin.org/care/why_wait.html.
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About the Author

ChuckH

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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