obese women

Intermittent fasting could improve obese women's health

January 8, 2019

Science Daily/University of Adelaide

Research shows that obese women lost more weight and improved their health by fasting intermittently while following a strictly controlled diet.

 

The study, published in the journal Obesity, involved a sample of 88 women following carefully controlled diets over 10 weeks.

 

"Continuously restricting their diet is the main way that obese women try to tackle their weight," says Dr Amy Hutchison, lead author from the University of Adelaide and the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI).

 

"Unfortunately, studies have shown that long-term adherence to a restricted diet is very challenging for people to follow, so this study looked at the impact of intermittent fasting on weight loss.

 

"Obese women who followed a diet in which they ate 70% of their required energy intake and fasted intermittently lost the most weight.

 

"Other women in the study who either fasted intermittently without reducing their food intake, who reduced their food intake but did not fast, or did not restrict their diet at all, were not as successful in losing weight," says Dr Hutchison.

 

The study also checked the effect of the different diets on the women's health. Women who fasted intermittently as well as restricting their food improved their health more than those who only restricted their diet or only fasted intermittently.

 

"By adhering to a strict pattern of intermittent fasting and dieting, obese women have achieved significant weight loss and improvements in their health such as decreased markers for heart disease," says Dr Hutchison.

 

Participants who fasted intermittently ate breakfast and then refrained from eating for 24 hours followed by 24 hours of eating. The following day they fasted again.

 

All participants of the study were women who were overweight or obese with a Body Mass Index (BMI) in the 25-40 range and aged between 35 and 70 years. They followed a typical Australian diet consisting of 35% fat, 15% protein and 50% carbohydrate.

 

"The most successful participants lost approximately 0.5 to 1 kg per week for each week of the study," says Dr Hutchison.

 

"This study is adding to evidence that intermittent fasting, at least in the short term, may provide better outcomes than daily continuous diet restriction for health and potentially for weight loss," says Associate Professor Leonie Heilbronn from the University of Adelaide and SAHMRI.

 

"While the study confirms that intermittent fasting is more effective than continuous diet restriction, the underlying signal for limiting people's appetite, which could hold the key to triggering effective weight loss, requires further research."

 

New trials now being undertaken will examine the effectiveness of long-term fasting on both men and women.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/01/190108125526.htm

Pregnant women can safely control weight gain through diet and lifestyle changes

September 6, 2018

Science Daily/Northwestern University

Many overweight/obese women gain too much weight during pregnancy. New trials showed these women can safely limit their weight gain with diet and exercise interventions. The reduced weight gain, however, did not result in fewer obstetrical complications. The finding suggests that the lifestyle changes need to start before pregnancy.

 

A new group of trials funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) showed that pregnant women can safely limit their weight gain with diet and exercise interventions. It is the largest set of trials in the U.S. to target pregnancy weight gain of overweight and obese women. The trials included diverse socioeconomic groups, which means the findings are generalizable to a large population.

 

"This is an important study because it affirms that women can change behaviors to control the amount of weight gained in pregnancy," said lead author Dr. Alan Peaceman, chief of maternal fetal medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a Northwestern Medicine high-risk obstetrician.

 

However, the reduced weight gain -- about four pounds per woman -- did not result in fewer obstetrical complications, including cesarean sections, diabetes, hypertension, and preeclampsia, or change the average birth weight of the baby.

 

"We think that by the time these women are already in the second trimester, it may already be late to change important outcomes," Peaceman said. "To lower the risk of obstetrical complications, they may have to start changing their lifestyle before or immediately after they conceive."

 

Investigators are hopeful that there will be longer-term benefits of the interventions in the infants, such as less childhood obesity or fewer metabolic abnormalities such as childhood diabetes.

 

The study was published Sept. 6 in the journal Obesity.

 

Seven teams of investigators recruited 1,150 participants for the LIFE-Mom trials (579 women had the lifestyle intervention, 571 had standard care), which ran from the second trimester to birth. Each trial offered a varied lifestyle intervention, but all aimed to improve diet quality and reduce calories, increase physical activity and incorporate behavior strategies such as self-monitoring.

 

Overweight and obese women are "hard nut to crack"

 

Overweight and obese women are a critical group to target, because they have higher rates of excess pregnancy weight gain and of retaining that weight postpartum. They also are more likely to have children who are obese. The majority of U.S. women of reproductive age are overweight or obese.

 

About 62 percent of the women in the intervention groups, versus 75 percent in the control groups, exceeded the National Academy of Medicine recommendations for pregnancy weight gain. The recommendation is overweight women limit their pregnancy weight gain to 15 to 25 pounds and obese women to 11 to 20 pounds, compared to 25 to 35 pounds for non-overweight women.

 

The fact that so many women in the intervention groups still exceeded the recommended weight gain shows the challenges of encouraging pregnant women to adhere to recommended diet and activity levels at a time when overeating and reluctance to exercise tend to increase, Peaceman said.

 

"It's a very hard nut to crack," he said.

 

A seesaw history of pregnancy weight gain

 

The advice doctors gave women about pregnancy weight gain has varied widely from decade to decade. In the 1950s, doctors often instructed their patients not to gain more than 15 pounds, Peaceman said.

 

By the late 1970s and early 1980s, mothers weren't gaining enough weight and were having small babies, which could lead to developmental problems in childhood. Then doctors started encouraging women to gain more weight.

 

"Doctors essentially told them that they could eat for two," Peaceman said.

 

"Then women started gaining excessively, but it wasn't thought to be a medical issue, just a cosmetic one," Peaceman said. "The attitude was, 'there's more weight for you to lose when you're done, but that is not a major medical concern'."

 

In the early 2000s, physicians started noticing that excessive pregnancy weight gain was associated with certain pregnancy complications: higher incidence of high blood pressure, gestational diabetes and cesarean sections.

 

"Then we started seeing more worrisome things," Peaceman said. "Excess maternal weight gain was not just associated with bigger babies, but those babies ended up with an increased risk of obesity and childhood diabetes."

 

A few researchers began investigating whether they could help women avoid excess weight gain during pregnancy. Trials testing different strategies for limiting pregnancy weight gain in overweight and obese women had mixed results, in part due to different populations studied and the lack of standardized clinical outcome measures.

 

"That's why NIH recognized the need to do this study in diverse populations and with standardized clinical outcome measures," Peaceman said. "It provides more reliable evidence."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180906184239.htm

Stress reduction and mindful eating curb weight gain among overweight women

December 7, 2011

Science Daily/University of California - San Francisco

Mastering simple mindful eating and stress-reduction techniques helped prevent weight gain even without dieting in overweight women.

 

In a study by UCSF researchers published online in the Journal of Obesity, mastering simple mindful eating and stress-reduction techniques helped prevent weight gain even without dieting.

 

Women in the study who experienced the greatest reduction in stress tended to have the most loss of deep belly fat. To a greater degree than fat that lies just under the skin, this deep abdominal fat is associated with an elevated risk for developing heart disease or diabetes.

"You're training the mind to notice, but to not automatically react based on habitual patterns -- to not reach for a candy bar in response to feeling anger, for example," said UCSF researcher Jennifer Daubenmier, PhD, from the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine. "If you can first recognize what you are feeling before you act, you have a greater chance of making a wiser decision."

 

Daubenmier led the current study with UCSF psychologist Elissa Epel, PhD. The study, published online in October, is part of ongoing UCSF research into how stress and the stress hormone cortisol are linked to eating behavior, fat and health.

 

Recognizing Sensations of Hunger, Fullness and Taste Satisfaction

The women who participated were not on calorie-counting diets. Instead, 24 of the 47 chronically stressed, overweight and obese women were randomly assigned to mindfulness training and practice, and the other 23 served as a control group. Although no diets were prescribed, all participants attended one session about the basics of healthy eating and exercise.

 

The training included nine weekly sessions, each lasting 2 1/2 hours, during which the women learned stress reduction techniques and how to be more aware of their eating by recognizing bodily sensations -- including hunger, fullness and taste satisfaction. At week six they attended an intensive seven-hour, silent meditation retreat.

 

They were asked to set aside 30 minutes daily for meditation exercises and to practice mindful eating during meals. Researchers used a scientifically tested survey to gauge psychological stress before and after the four-month study, and recorded the women's fat and cortisol levels.

 

Among women in the treatment group, changes in body awareness, chronic stress, cortisol secretion and abdominal fat were clearly linked. Those who had greater improvements in listening to their bodies' cues, or greater reductions in stress or cortisol, experienced the greatest reductions in abdominal fat.

 

Among the subset of obese women in the study, those who received the mindfulness training had significant reductions in cortisol after awakening and also maintained their total body weight, compared to women in the waitlist group, who had stable cortisol levels and continued to gain weight.

 

In a separate, ongoing study with lower-income, pregnant women who are overweight, Epel,Daubenmier and colleagues are teaching similar mindful-eating techniques. Pregnancy is a time when heavy women tend to gain an excessive amount of weight and later find it very hard to lose it. Furthermore, excessive weight gain during pregnancy can harm the baby's health.

 

"We are intervening at a critical point, when the health of the next generation is being shaped,"Epel said. "We hope to improve the health of both the mothers and their babies."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111207152418.htm

'Love your body' to lose weight

July 18, 2011

Science Daily/BioMed Central Limited

Almost a quarter of men and women in England and over a third of adults in America are obese. Obesity increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease and can significantly shorten a person's life expectancy. New research published by BioMed Central's open access journal International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity shows that improving body image can enhance the effectiveness of weight loss programs based on diet and exercise.

 

Researchers from the Technical University of Lisbon and Bangor University enrolled overweight and obese women on a year-long weight loss program. Half the women were given general health information about good nutrition, stress management, and the importance of looking after yourself. The other half attended 30 weekly group sessions (the intervention plan) where issues such as exercise, emotional eating, improving body image and the recognition of, and how to overcome, personal barriers to weight loss and lapses from the diet were discussed.

 

On the behavioral intervention plan women found that the way they thought about their body improved and that concerns about body shape and size were reduced. Compared to the control group they were better able to self-regulate their eating and they lost much more weight, losing on average 7% of their starting weight compared to less than 2% for the control group.

 

Dr. Teixeira from Technical University of Lisbon, who led the research, said, "Body image problems are very common amongst overweight and obese people, often leading to comfort eating and more rigid eating patterns, and are obstacles to losing weight.

 

Our results showed a strong correlation between improvements in body image, especially in reducing anxiety about other peoples' opinions, and positive changes in eating behavior. From this we believe that learning to relate to your body in healthier ways is an important aspect of maintaining weight loss and should be addressed in every weight control program."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110717204913.htm

Women's age at first menstrual cycle linked to heart disease risk

December 15, 2014

Science Daily/American Heart Association

The risk of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure was significantly higher when menstruation began at age 10 or younger, or age 17 or older. First menstrual cycle at the age of 13 posed the lowest risk of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure.

 

Researchers analyzed data collected from 1.3 million women aged 50 to 64 years old, who were mostly white. After over a decade of observation, those women who had their first menstrual cycle at the age of 13 had the least risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.

 

Compared to women who had their first menstrual cycle at age 13, women with their first menstrual cycle at age 10 or younger, or age 17 or older, had up to:

 

  • ·      27 percent more hospitalizations or deaths due to heart disease;
  • ·      16 percent more hospitalizations or deaths from stroke; and
  • ·      20 percent more hospitalizations with high blood pressure, or deaths due to its complications.

 

"The size of our study, the wide range of ages considered, and the vascular diseases being examined made it unique and informative," said Dexter Canoy, M.D, Ph.D., study lead author and cardiovascular epidemiologist at the Cancer Epidemiology Unit, Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford in the U.K.

 

"Childhood obesity, widespread in many industrialized countries, is linked particularly to early age at which the first menstrual cycle occurs. Public health strategies to tackle childhood obesity may possibly prevent the lowering of the average age of first menstrual cycle, which may in turn reduce their risk of developing heart disease over the long term."

 

The effect of age of the first occurrence of menstruation on heart disease was consistently found among lean, over-weight, and obese women, among never, past or current smokers, and among women in lower, middle, or higher socioeconomic groups.

 

For the majority of these women, however, their additional risk of developing a vascular disease was small. Of the million women, only four percent of them had their first menstrual cycle occurring at age 10 or younger, and only one percent at age 17 or older.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141215185203.htm

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