Weight-Loss Benefits Survive Later Weight Gain in Diabetics

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Type 2 diabetics who lose weight soon after diagnosis are likely to still meet BP and glycemic control targets even if they fail to keep the pounds off, a study found.

Lead author Adrianne Feldstein, MD, MS, of the Center for Health Research at Kaiser Permanente Northwest in Portland, Ore., said it appears “there may be a critical window during which some lasting gains can be achieved, if people are willing to take immediate steps after diagnosis.”

Funded by NIH, the study focused on 2,574 adults aged 21-75 years. Researchers followed patients' weight patterns for three years and then compared hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) and BP readings in the fourth. Participants fell into four categories: higher stable weight, lower stable weight, weight gain, and weight loss.

At 18 months after diagnosis, patients in the weight-loss group were a mean 10.7 kg (23.6 lb) lighter, but on average, they started gaining the weight back almost immediately until their losses were nearly wiped out at 36 months.

Nevertheless, patients in the higher stable weight, lower stable weight, or weight gain groups were, respectively, 66%, 52%, and 77% more likely to have an HbA1c of 7 or higher compared with those who lost weight, after adjusting for age, gender, baseline control, and related medication use, investigators reported in Diabetes Care (2008;31:1960-1965).

In addition, those with higher stable weight or weight-gain patterns were, respectively, 83% and 47% more likely to have BP of 130/80 mm Hg or higher than those who lost weight.

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