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‘Yo-yo dieting’ may increase risk of stroke, heart attack: study

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New York – Frequent weight gain and loss may increase the risk of heart attack and stroke for people who have pre-existing coronary artery disease, according to a recent study from New York University Langone Medical Center.

Researchers analyzed more than 9,500 men and women between the ages of 35 and 75. Each individual had a prior history of coronary artery disease, high cholesterol and heart issues. The participants were monitored for a median of 4.7 years to determine the effect of weight changes on overall health.

Participants who had the most changes in weight experienced 136 percent more strokes, 117 percent more heart attacks and 124 percent more fatalities than those in the low-fluctuation group, researchers said. Weight change also was linked to increases in newly diagnosed diabetes cases.

Researchers said although they could not prove weight changes caused increased heart attacks and strokes, the data showed a correlation.

“Our findings suggest that we need to be concerned about weight fluctuation in this group that is already at high risk due to coronary disease,” Sripal Bangalore, lead author and director of the cardiovascular outcomes group at NYU Langone’s Cardiovascular Clinical Research Center, said in a press release. “Even though this analysis was not designed to find out the causes of increased risk with body weight fluctuations, we need to examine how we can help Americans keep weight off, rather than having it go up and down.”

The study was published April 6 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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