Objective: Given that the repetitive loss and regain of body weight, termed weight cycling, is a prevalent phenomenon that has been associated with negative physiological and psychological outcomes, the purpose of this study was to investigate weight change and physiological outcomes in women with a lifetime history of weight cycling enrolled in a 12-month diet and/or exercise intervention.
Methods: 439 overweight, inactive, postmenopausal women were randomized to: i) dietary weight loss with a 10% weight loss goal (N=118); ii) moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic exercise for 45 min/day, 5 days/week (n=117); ii) both dietary weight loss and exercise (n=117); or iv) control (n=87). Women were categorized as non-, moderate- (≥3 losses of ≥4.5 kg), or severe-cyclers (≥3 losses of ≥9.1 kg). Trend tests and linear regression were used to compare adherence and changes in weight, body composition, blood pressure, insulin, C-peptide, glucose, insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), C-reactive protein, leptin, adiponectin, and interleukin-6 between cyclers and non-cyclers.
Results: Moderate (n=103) and severe (n=77) cyclers were heavier and had less favorable metabolic profiles than non-cyclers at baseline. There were, however, no significant differences in adherence to the lifestyle interventions. Weight-cyclers (combined) had a greater improvement in HOMA-IR compared to non-cyclers participating in the exercise only intervention (P=.03), but no differences were apparent in the other groups.
Conclusion: A history of weight cycling does not impede successful participation in lifestyle interventions or alter the benefits of diet and/or exercise on body composition and metabolic outcomes.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00470119.
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