Cardiovascular disease risk in obese diabetics is lower after weight loss program. Participants of the Why WAIT (Weight Achievement and Intensive Management) program experienced significant weight loss, which translated to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease five years later.
The study monitored 129 participants with an average body mass index of 38. Average weight loss was of 9.7 percent after the initial 12-week intervention and was maintained at an average of 6.4 percent at five-year mark.
Lead author Osama Hamdy explained, “This weight loss was very impressive, since we know from previous research that if this population can maintain a seven percent weight loss, they show a marked improvement in insulin sensitivity and many other cardiovascular risk factors. To the best of our knowledge, this is the longest follow-up in the real world of clinical practice to show encouraging results that weight loss can be achieved and maintained.”
The researchers found that achieving a target weight loss of seven percent after the first year was a good predictor of maintaining weight loss over many years. The participants were divided into two groups: those who achieved targeted weight loss after a year and those who did not. Those who achieved target weight loss after a year were more likely to maintain a greater weight loss after five years, compared to the other group.
Furthermore, greater weight loss was also linked to a greater initial reduction and slower climb back up after five years in hemoglobin A1C levels, a standard measurement of blood glucose levels over the course of three months. The greater weight loss group also had improved LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol over the course of five years.
The Why WAIT program was designed to deliver achievable and innovative combinations of nutritional, exercise, medication, learning, and monitoring offerings. As Hamdy explained, the weight loss plan was specifically designed to maintain muscle mass and to make most of the weight lost come from the fat mass.
Along with lifestyle interventions, patients also had the option of medications, gastrointestinal procedures, and bariatric surgery. The study found that those who completed the intervention program had comparable results to those who opted for the surgical procedures.
Hamdy concluded, “This program is giving hope to many people with diabetes that there is something that works for weight loss and can work for a long time. People can maintain their weight loss, and their big benefits in cardiovascular risk factors and diabetes control.”