Risk factors for hypertension in obese women. The role of weight cycling

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2000 Apr;54(4):356-60. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1600963.


Objective: To study significant factors associated with the risk of hypertension among obese women, with and without a history of weight cycling (WC).

Design: Case-control study.

Setting: Obesity Clinic of Chieti University, Italy.

Subjects: A group of 258 obese women aged 25-64 y (103 cases with hypertension and 155 controls) were recruited. All obese subjects had the same clinical characteristics, were without a family history for hypertension, were non-smokers, had normal lipidemic profiles and normal glucose tolerance, were not taking any medication and were otherwise healthy.

Intervention: In the weight cycling women, the history of WC was established on the basis of at least five weight losses in the previous 5 y due to dieting, with a weight loss of at least 4.5 kg per cycle. A logistic regression model adjusted for confounding variables such as waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) and weight cycling history parameters was used and the odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence intervals was calculated.

Results: The risk of hypertension increases in subjects with larger WHR (OR 7.8; 95% CI 3.4-17.9) and with a positive history for WC (OR 4.1; 95% CI 2.4-6.9). Further, in obese patients with WC, the weight cycling index and the sum of the weight regained are also important risk factors for hypertension.

Conclusions: These findings could support the hypothesis that it is the combined exposure of central-type obesity and WC that strongly raises the risk of hypertension.

Sponsorship: This work has been financially supported by a grant of Ministero dell'Università e della Ricerca Scientifica e Tecnologica.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / etiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Occupations
  • Postmenopause
  • Risk Factors