Senior author Dr. Anne McTiernan of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, said the affect of yo-yo dieting -- the repetitive loss and regain of body weight, also called weight cycling -- on the metabolism or a person's ability to lose weight in the long run has been unclear.
The researchers analyzed data from 439 overweight-to-obese, sedentary Seattle-area women, ages 50-75, who were randomly assigned to one of four groups: reduced-calorie diet only, exercise only, reduced-calorie diet plus exercise and a control group that received no intervention.
At the end of the yearlong study, those on the diet-only and diet-plus-exercise arms lost an average of 10 percent of their starting weight -- the goal of the intervention.
The study, published in the journal Metabolism, found although severe weight cyclers were, on average, nearly 20 pounds heavier than non-cyclers at the start of the study, at the end the researchers found no significant differences between those who yo-yo dieted and those who didn't with regard to the ability to successfully participate in diet and/or exercise programs.
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