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Research Spotlight:
Healthy Aging, Yo-Yo Dieting

Scale and Yo YoMiddle-age Fitness Leads to Healthier Aging, Lower Cancer Risk

Cancer is primarily a disease of age. The older we get the higher our risk for cancer and other chronic diseases. Now a recent study sheds light on how our habits throughout life make a difference -- both in preventing diseases such as cancer, and in living healthier as we age.

The take home-message? It's never too late to start.

The study, published online in the Archives of Internal Medicine, looked at how physical fitness in mid-life linked to the onset of chronic illness.  The study found that participants who waited until mid-life to become more fit still delayed the onset of several chronic conditions later on.

“Previous studies have shown a link with fitness and an extension of lifespan but there’s almost no data looking at fitness and non-fatal outcomes,” said senior author Jarrett Berry, MD, MS, an assistant professor of internal medicine at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. “…if you have fewer chronic conditions, you are aging more healthfully.”

Yo-Yo Dieters Can Still Lose Weight

Every year, from 10 to 40 percent of overweight women lose and then regain that weight, an exhausting cycle of yo-yo dieting that researchers have long thought may harm women’s metabolism and their ability to lose weight over the long term.

Not so, finds a new study published online in the journal Metabolism.

The study looked at the effects of a healthy weight loss program among 439 overweight and sedentary post-menopausal women. Some of the women had a longtime history of yo-yo dieting – referred to by researchers as weight cycling – and others did not. The women were randomly assigned to one of four groups: one group ate fewer calories; a second group exercised; a third group ate fewer calories and exercised; the last group served as the control, receiving no intervention.

After one year, there was no difference among the weight cyclers and non-weight cyclers when it came to weight loss and program participation. The women who dieted-only and dieted-with-exercise lost an average of 10 percent of their starting weight. The women in these groups showed no difference from the non-cyclers with regard to percentage of body fat lost and lean muscle mass gained. Blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, and levels of hormones such as leptin and adiponectin also did not differ significantly among the cyclers and non-weight cyclers.


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