Weight cycling and fat distribution

Int J Obes. 1990 Apr;14(4):303-10.


Interest in factors that promote a more abdominal fat distribution has arisen because a higher waist-to-hip circumference ratio (WHR) has been linked to several major health risks, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. In the present study we asked whether weight variability, produced by repeated cycles of weight gain and loss, influenced fat distribution toward a more abdominal pattern in premenopausal women. It was found that a higher WHR was significantly associated with a higher degree of weight cycling, controlling for age and parity. A significant association between BMI and WHR was found only in those subjects who were weight cyclers. In addition, number of pregnancies was also associated with a higher WHR. These findings suggest that repeated bouts of weight loss and regain may promote abdominal adiposity and consequently, may contribute to long-term health risks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen
  • Adipose Tissue / anatomy & histology*
  • Adult
  • Anthropometry
  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menopause
  • Parity
  • Pregnancy
  • Weight Gain*
  • Weight Loss*