Almost all women struggle with weight gain after menopause. Diet tricks that used to work no longer help. You may drop 10 or 15 pounds only to gain it back. It can be frustrating and many women are tempted to give up. But new research indicates that it's important to keep trying to gain control over the scale.
Scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina found that gaining weight back after a diet could put women at greater risk of diabetes and heart disease.
In a paper published by the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences looked at risk factors for diabetes and heart disease including blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglycerides, fasting glucose and insulin.
They found that the risk of diabetes and heart disease declined with weight loss but if women regain that weight, their risk was actually greater than before they started dieting.
The National Institute on Aging sponsored the study. The researchers looked at 112 obese, postmenopausal women with an average age of 58. They were followed during a five-month supervised diet and then for the following 12 months, when their eating habits were not supervised.
During the diet, the women lost an average of 25 pounds. But after a year, two thirds of the women had regained 70 percent of the weight they had lost.
The researchers say this means that losing weight after menopause has to be seen as a permanent lifestyle change, not just a temporary diet.