07:28am Monday 30 March 2020

The Great Weight Debate: What is the Best Way to Shed Pounds?

ST. LOUIS – While there is no question that losing weight can improve your health, there is some debate on the best way to slim down.

Saint Louis University researchers are conducting a study to compare the effects of diet and exercise on disease risk and aging. Approximately 30 men and post-menopausal women between the ages of 45 and 65 years old, who are slightly or moderately overweight, are needed for the study.

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“It’s well documented in previous studies that when people lose weight, they experience a substantial reduction in diabetes and heart disease risk,” said Edward Weiss, Ph.D., assistant professor of nutrition and dietetics at Saint Louis University and principal investigator of the study.

Edward Weiss, Ph.D.

“With this study, we hope to take the research a step further to determine which method of losing weight – diet, exercise or a combination of both – is most effective in improving your overall health and lowering your risk for certain diseases, and to understand why.”

Study participants will be randomly assigned to one of three groups – exercise, diet or a combination of both – with the goal of losing 6 percent of their body weight over a 12 week period. A 200-pound person, for example, would lose 1 pound per week for a total of 12 pounds. Those who do not reach their goal with in the 12 week time frame will be allowed additional time.

Researchers will use pre- and post-study medical evaluations and risk assessments to measure the effect diet and exercise have on study participants’ risk for heart disease and diabetes. Researchers also plan to check in with study participants after one and two years to see if they maintain their weight or put the pounds back on.

According to Weiss, participants in the food group will follow a diet based on sound nutrition principals that can be adapted into a permanent lifestyle. Participants in the activity group will focus on cardiovascular exercises.

Study participants will receive diet and exercise counseling from nutrition and dietetics experts at no cost. Participants in either activity group also will have access to SLU’s Simon Rec Center. Study participation includes six visits before starting a weight loss intervention, weekly one-on-one counseling and weigh-ins during the intervention and four to five follow-up visits. Additionally, study participants will be required to track their weight every morning at home.

“People who participate in the study receive weight loss counseling from nutrition and dietetics experts or exercise specialists, depending on which group they are randomized to. All three groups encourage behavior changes that are designed to be long lasting. We don’t want this to be a temporary thing,” Weiss said.

To learn more about the study and find out if you qualify, please call Laura Marks at (314) 977-8523, email her at [email protected], or go to http://www.slu.edu/x2271.xml

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