For long-term weight maintenance, women who are middle-aged or older must exercise daily, incorporating at least 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity into their schedule, according to a new Journal of the American Medical Association study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
“Most overweight and obese persons who lose weight do not successfully maintain their weight loss over time, and so from a public health perspective, preventing that initial weight gain is important,” says I-Min Lee, M.D., associate epidemiologist in the Division of Preventive Medicine at BWH.
Key points about weight maintenance:
• Making slow, progressive changes leads to new and lasting habits.
• Avoid yo-yo dieting and fads.
• Exercise is essential for weight loss.
• Consume fewer calories, but make sure that your diet has a balance of essential nutrients, including vitamins and minerals.
"There is plenty of research on treating overweight and obesity - that is, looking at strategies for weight loss among overweight or obese persons, but very little research on preventing weight gain in the first place,” says Lee.
Lee and colleagues examined the relation between level of daily physical activity and weight change over time among over 34,000 women. The most active women participated in at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily, such as brisk walking, and gained less than 5 pounds every 2-3 years. Those less active gained significantly more weight.
"These findings shouldn't obscure the fact that for health, any physical activity is good, and more is better. It is important to remember that weight is only one aspect of health. Many studies have shown that being physically active for even 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, significantly reduces the risk of developing many chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, some cancers, and type 2 diabetes,” says Lee.
Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine for weight maintenance and weight loss. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500. For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director.