FRIDAY, March 8, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- A history of weight cycling (HWC), or yo-yo dieting, is associated with poorer cardiovascular health in women, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association (AHA) Epidemiology and Prevention/Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health 2019 Scientific Sessions, held from March 5 to 8 in Houston.
Stephanie S. Byun, from Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues analyzed data from 485 women (mean age, 37 years) participating in the AHA Go Red for Women Strategically Focused Research Network to evaluate the association between HWC (losing and gaining ≥10 lb at least once, excluding pregnancy) and cardiovascular health. Participants received a score of 0 (poor), 1 (moderate), or 2 (high) for each AHA Life's Simple 7 (LS7) metric (body mass index [BMI], blood pressure, total cholesterol, glucose, physical activity, diet, and smoking), with a composite score calculated.
The researchers found that 73 percent of women (mean BMI, 26 kg/m²) reported at least one HWC episode, while 26 percent of women had poor, 34 percent moderate, and 40 percent had high cardiovascular health. An association was noted between HWC and lower odds of meeting the BMI metric or a moderate or high AHA LS7 composite score. No association was seen between HWC and other cardiovascular health metrics. In both premenopausal and postmenopausal women who had never been pregnant, HWC was associated with lower odds of having a high AHA LS7 score.
"The women without a pregnancy history were likely younger and might be those who started weight-cycling at an earlier age," senior author Brooke Aggarwal, Ed.D., of the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City, said in a statement. "We need to identify critical periods for the effect of weight fluctuation on heart disease risk over the life course to find out whether it is worse when women start on a dieting roller-coaster at an early age."