Physicians' Academy for Cardiovascular Education

Not only weight loss, but also maintaining a lower weight is important for a good CV risk profile

Change in Cardiometabolic Risk Factors Associated With Magnitude of Weight Regain 3 Years After a 1‐Year Intensive Lifestyle Intervention in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: The Look AHEAD Trial

Literature - Berger SE, Huggins GS, McCaffery JM, et al., - J Am Heart Assoc. 2019;8:e010951.

Introduction and methods

Lifestyle interventions can result in substantial weight loss and short-term health benefits [1,2], but it is hard for patients to maintain the achieved weight loss [3,4]. When weight loss is maintained, this is beneficial in terms of reducing development of type 2 diabetes (T2DM) [1] and to sustain favorable cardiometabolic factors [5,6]. Weight regain, on the other hand, is associated with loss of the cardiometabolic benefits associated with weight loss [6,7].

Comparisons of individuals with successful weight loss maintenance (maintainers) and individuals who regained weight (regainers) are scarce. This is related to the fact that various methods are used to define successful weight loss maintenance. Furthermore, different cut points have been used to differentiate maintainers and regainers.

This study used data from the Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes) trial [8], to examine the difference between maintainers and regainers in cardiometabolic risk factor change from years 1 to 4, after the intensive lifestyle intervention, which targeted ~7% weight loss. After the 1 year intensive lifestyle intervention, followed a 3-year maintenance phase. The current analyses were conducted in participants in the intensive lifestyle intervention group, who lost ≥3% of initial body weight, and who had follow-up data through the end of year 4 (n=1791), excluding those taking niacin or fibrates (n=230, leaving 1561). This study used five cut points for %weight loss, which were used to divide participants into maintainers and regainers (from 0% regain to 100%, at 25% increments). The effects on cardiometabolic risk factors were analyzed, namely HDL-c and triglyceride (TG) levels, systolic and diastolic BP (SBP and DBP), waist circumference (WC), fasting glucose (FG) and HbA1c. An attempt was made to identify a cut point capable of differentiating maintainers and regainers that maximizes the risk difference between the groups.

Main results


This study shows that overall, 3 years after having been enrolled in an intensive lifestyle intervention and having achieved weight loss, people with T2DM who maintained the weight loss, showed better cardiometabolic risk factor profile than those who regained the weight lost. No weight regain cut point was identified that maximized the cardiometabolic risk difference between weight maintainers and regainers, to be able to differentiate between the two groups. Different relationships were seen depending on risk factor, sex and magnitude of initial weight loss. Successfully maintaining most (75%) of the weight loss was associated with no change or improvement across all risk factors.


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Find this article online at J Am Heart Assoc.

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