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Weight Loss and CHD Risk Factors
Weight Loss Reduces Glucose and Heart Disease Risks After Menopause
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Weight Loss & CHD Risk Factors

Weight Loss Study Background
The claim that weight loss improves coronary heart disease (CHD) risk factors in postmenopausal women is not substantiated by much data; nor is it known if there are racial differences in changes of body fat distribution, lipids, glucose tolerance, and blood pressure with weight loss. This weight loss study determined the efficacy of a lifestyle weight loss intervention in reducing total and abdominal obesity and improving CHD risk factors in obese Caucasian and African-American postmenopausal women.

Weight Loss Study Method
Body composition (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry), abdominal fat areas, lipoprotein lipids, insulin, glucose tolerance, and blood pressure were measured before and after 6 months of hypocaloric diet and low-intensity walking in 76 overweight or obese (body mass index > 25 kg/m2), Caucasian (72%) or African-American (28%), postmenopausal (age = 60 ± 5 years) women who completed the study.

Weight Loss Study Results
Absolute amount of body weight lost was similar in Caucasians (-5.4 ± 3.6 kg) and African Americans (-3.9 ± 3.6 kg), but Caucasian women lost relatively more fat mass. Both groups decreased their subcutaneous abdominal fat, and Caucasian women decreased their visceral fat area, but there were no racial differences in the magnitude of abdominal fat lost. The intervention decreased triglycerides and increased high-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein 2 cholesterol in both races, and it decreased total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in Caucasian women. Fasting glucose and glucose area during the oral glucose tolerance test decreased in Caucasian women, whereas insulin area decreased in both Caucasian and African-American women. Blood pressure decreased the most in women with higher blood pressures at baseline. Changes in lipids, fasting glucose and insulin, their responses during the oral glucose tolerance test, and blood pressure were not different between racial groups.

Weight Loss Study Conclusion
Weight loss achieved through a lifestyle intervention of energy restriction and increased physical activity is an equally effective therapy in African-American and Caucasian obese, postmenopausal women for improving glucose and lipid CHD risk factors.

Sources: Baltimore VA Medical Center, Baltimore, Maryland.
The Gerontological Society of America

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