Research presented Thursday at the American Psychological Association’s 120th Annual Convention, this year in Orlando, Fla. claims that even modest weight loss of 20 pounds can provide a decade of health benefits to overweight and obese persons.
Dr. Rena Wing, a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University and director of the Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center at Miriam Hosp. in Providence, was a presenter of the research and she says modest weight loss, even if regained later, can slow the onset of Type 2 diabetes, and have other health benefits.
"Helping people find ways to change their eating and activity behaviors, and developing interventions other than medication to reinforce a healthy lifestyle, have made a huge difference in preventing one of the major health problems in this country," Dr. Wing said. “Weight losses of just 10 percent of a person’s body weight (or about 20 pounds in those who weigh 200 pounds) have also been shown to have a long-term impact on sleep apnea, hypertension and quality of life, and to slow the decline in mobility that occurs as people age.”
Diabetes Prevention Program
Wing is conducting research through the Diabetes Prevention Program, a U.S. national study of 3,000 overweight people who have glucose intolerance - a precursor to Type 2 diabetes - and have been shown healthy manners of changing their habits and fighting their food addiction. Her research has shown, she said, that even modest weight loss can positively affect a persons health for up to a decade.
Dr. Wing's numbers indicate a 58 percent reduced risk of developing Type 2 diabetes for overweight and obese persons who manage to achieve weight loss. She is now leading a lengthy study - over the course of 13 years - that seeks to discover if intervention in weight problems from behavioral therapy will lower a person's risk of heart disease and heart attacks.