Obesity increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and other conditions like stroke. A doctor might call a person obese if they have elevated BMI (body mass index). With rising awareness around obesity and how it might contribute to other medical conditions, the concept of weight management programs has become quite popular. While many people are able to consistently keep up with gradual workouts, some might opt for behavioural weight loss programmes that are able to benefit them by providing long-term changes in their diet and pattern of physical activity. These management programs also do have an expiry date.
Till now these short-lived weight management programs were seen as not contributing much to the long-term health benefits. However, a new study has shown that joining a behavioural weight loss management can provide long-term health benefits even when weight is regained. Compared to people who did minimal to no weight management, people with these weight management programs had lower blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels up to 5 years after stopping the program.
What did the study find?
The study was initiated by Oxford researchers who wanted to find out if the behavioural weight loss programs had benefits extending beyond a year. The findings of the study were published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. The study found that in comparison to low-intensity weight management programs or taking no initiatives to control weight, following a behavioural weight management program provided them with cardiovascular protection by keeping their parameters in control like blood pressure and cholesterol levels. However, with gaining weight over the years, the health benefits got reduced gradually.
As per some quoted experts, weight regain is a gradual process and might happen much slower than people imagine. Hence, cardiovascular risk factors might stay reduced due to persisting weight loss.
Benefits of physical activity
According to WHO's recommendations, adults must take up at least 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity and 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week. Physical activity helps reduce the risk of hypertension, cancer, type 2 diabetes, anxiety or depression. In older adults, physical activity helps prevent falls and fall-related injuries as well as a decline in bone health and functional ability. As per WHO, children and adolescents must do a minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Physical activity can include running, walking, playing sports, dancing and others.