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Total Weight Loss May Have Bigger Impact on Health Than Rate of Weight Loss

Some people believe that losing weight faster will improve your overall health more than if you lose it slowly. However, a new study compared metabolic health markers in people who lost weight at different rates and found no significant difference.

The researchers looked at data from 11,281 people who attended a publicly funded clinical weight management program between July 2008 and July 2017. They had an average treatment period of 12.7 months. Waist circumference, blood pressure, fasting glucose, triglycerides, and HDL cholesterol were measured at baseline and at the end of treatment. Body weight was recorded at each patient visit. The participants were grouped into three different groups: Fast weight loss rate (WLR), Recommended WLR, and Slow WLR.

Participants in the Fast WLR group lost an average of 54 pounds in the first 3-6 months, compared to 29 pounds in the Recommended WLR group and 11 pounds in the Slow WLR group. Initially, it appeared that those in the Fast WLR group had greater improvements in waist circumference and blood pressure. However, when the researchers looked at total weight loss, they found that participants who lost the most weight in all three groups showed similar improvements in waist circumference, blood pressure, triglycerides, and HDL levels.

Researchers from York University and the Wharton Medical Clinic conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print January 29, 2019, in theJournal of Obesity.
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