Shed Pounds and Improve Blood Lipid Levels

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Weight Loss

Overweight women who lose just 15 percent of their body weight may significantly decrease their health risks, according to McGill researchers. Their study is the first to show that losing a small amount of weight, through diet and exercise, substantially decreases blood lipids and other markers for heart disease.

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Blood lipids are the fatty substances found in blood, the best known of which is cholesterol. A higher than normal level of blood lipids (hyperlipidemia) is a major risk factor for cardiovascular problems such as heart disease and stroke.

"Thirty-five women participated in a six-month weight loss program which combined increased levels of physical activity with decreased food intake," said Peter Jones, senior author and McGill professor of dietetics and nutrition. "On average, participants lost almost 12 kilograms during the trial period, a very achievable level of weight loss. This loss was associated with significant improvements in all blood lipid levels, including total cholesterol and high density cholesterol, the so-called 'good' cholesterol, and blood triglycerides."

The research team, which included Sylvia Santosa and Isabelle Demonty, also found women's lipid and insulin levels at the start of the study were the best predictors of total weight loss. This is a departure from previous studies, which have shown a strong relationship between initial weight and total weight loss

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