Objective: To compare the efficacy of different weight loss regimens on body weight loss and metabolic improvement in breast cancer survivors.
Research methods and procedures: Forty-eight obese breast cancer survivors were randomly divided into four groups and were followed for 1 year: 1) the Control group (subjects did not receive specific nutrition counseling); 2) the Weight Watchers group (subjects were given free coupons to attend weekly Weight Watchers meetings); 3) the Individualized group (a registered dietitian provided one-on-one nutritional counseling); and 4) the Comprehensive group (subjects received individualized dietary counseling and free coupons for the weekly Weight Watchers meetings). At baseline and 3-, 6-, and 12-month data collection visits, a fasting blood sample was obtained for assays. A three-day dietary record was kept during the week before these visits and dietary intake was analyzed.
Results: Subjects in the three intervention groups lost weight (Control: 1.1 +/- 1.7 kg; Weight Watchers: -2.7 +/- 2.1 kg; Individualized: -8.0 +/- 1.9 kg; Comprehensive: -9.5 +/- 2.7 kg) and percentage body fat, but only the Individualized and Comprehensive groups had significant losses. Subjects in the Comprehensive group showed the most improvement in cholesterol levels and had reductions in blood leptin levels.
Discussion: Because insulin resistance and high blood leptin levels are associated with breast cancer, losing weight to improve these parameters may reduce the risk of recurrence. Only subjects in the Comprehensive group showed significant reductions in body weight and fat, energy intake, and leptin levels. For breast cancer survivors, different weight loss strategies should be considered to assist them in losing weight.