"The bottom line is, while severely overweight women should try to reduce their weight to avoid the many health problems caused by obesity, women who are not obese should try to maintain a stable weight," said C. Noel Bairey-Merz, M.D., medical director of the Preventive and Rehabilitative Cardiac Center at Cedars-Sinai Research Institute, and senior author of the paper.
Compared with women who maintained their weight, cyclers had higher BMI, exercised more and had a greater physical capacity for performing everyday activities. The two groups did not differ in cardiac risk factors such as blood pressure, blood sugar or waist-to-hip ratio, or in menopausal status, use of hormone replacement therapy, or prevalence of diabetes or coronary artery disease. Weight cyclers also tended to be white, as well as younger and better educated than the non-cyclers.
While low HDL levels constitute a significant risk factor for coronary artery disease (CAD), the investigators did not note a direct association between weight cycling and CAD.
"It is possible that there could be a lag time between the drop in HDL levels and its effect on the development of heart disease," explained Steven Reis, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, director of the womens Heart Center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Health System Cardiovascular Institute, a W.I.S.E. principal investigator and co-author of the paper. "Additional research is necessary so that these women can be followed over a period of time."