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Small weight losses can make a big difference

Small weight losses can make a big difference
January 26, 2014

The Australian Heart Foundation (AHF) is urging those who are overweight and struggling to keep to their New Year weight loss resolutions not to give up highlighting that even a modest loss of 10% in body weight can have a positive impact on heart health.

A recent US study of middle-aged women who were either overweight or obese showed that a 10% reduction in body weight was enough to lower their risk of developing heart disease.

AHF Health Director (Queensland) Rachelle Foreman said it was important that people set realistic weight loss goals and maintain them, stating "many people who know they have a weight problem charge into the New Year with a burst of enthusiasm to lose a dramatic amount of weight.

"But when it comes to weight loss, slow and steady wins the race."

"The best thing you can do for your health is set an attainable weight loss target and keep the weight off for a longer period of time."

"A goal of 10% weight loss should be achievable for most people through simple everyday changes to their diet and level of physical activity," she said.

The US research noted that women involved in short-term weight loss programs tended to lose more weight initially but after six months many had started to gain it back again.

However, those who lost and sustained at least 10% of their overall body weight for two years had reduced levels of 'bad' cholesterol, reduced levels of triglycerides (a type of blood fat), better control of their glucose and insulin levels and less inflammation in their bodies.

Foreman said the US study confirmed similar research conducted in Australia that also included men, concluding "heart disease is the biggest killer of Australians and reducing your heart disease risk is a great gift to give yourself in 2014!"

For most people being a healthy weight means having a BMI (body mass index) between 18.5 and 24.9, but waist circumference is also a good indicator women should aim for a waist measurement of less than 80cm and men for less than 94cm.

For practical tips on making sustainable lifestyle changes, visit www.heartfoundation.org.au

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