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Yo-Yo Dieting Increases Heart Attack Risk in Older Women

22/11/2016

Yo-Yo Dieting Increases Heart Attack Risk in Older WomenMillions of people all over the world struggle with their waistlines. A constant battle that sees them diet, lose weight and then put it all back on again - sometimes more than they had originally.

It's a pattern known as "yo-yo dieting", and a new study suggests that it can be hard on the hearts of older women.

According to study leader Dr. Somwail Rasla, who's an internal medicine resident at the Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island in Pawtucket (US), "Women with a normal [weight] who experience yo-yo dieting throughout their adult life are at increased risk of sudden cardiac death and coronary heart disease death".

Last week's American Heart Association conference in New Orleans heard that older women who are not necessarily overweight, but continue to strive for that so-called "perfect figure", increase their risk of sudden cardiac death by as much as 66%, which is 3.5 times higher than women who maintain a stable weight.

It's long been known that being overweight as you reach middle age is linked with a higher risk of mortality due to heart disease, but the risks associated with yo-yo dieting have had much less research.

For the study led by Rasla, the weight histories of 158,000 older, postmenopausal women were analysed. The women who were deemed to be yo-yo dieters - characterised as a cycle of gaining and losing 10 pounds or more - were also found to have a greater risk of coronary heart disease.

Until further research is conducted, the message for now from Rasla is that "maintaining a stable body weight is best for overall health."
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