As obesity continues to affect approximately 40% of the global population and 30% of Hong Kong adults, experts are researching effective strategies to help individuals achieve sustainable weight loss. In this article, we’ll discuss the findings of a study from the University of Copenhagen, which highlights the importance of combining exercise and medication to maintain weight loss, prevent rebound, and improve overall health.
Understanding Obesity and Its Risks
Obesity is a medical condition recognized by the World Health Organization and is characterized by an excess amount of body fat. Obese individuals face an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and infertility. It is crucial to identify effective and sustainable strategies for weight loss to minimize these health risks.
Evaluating Weight Loss Methods: A Study by the University of Copenhagen
The New England Journal of Medicine published a study conducted by a research team from the University of Copenhagen, which tested various weight loss methods and dietary management strategies for their long-term effectiveness in obese individuals. The study aimed to determine which methods were most successful in maintaining weight loss and preventing weight regain.
The Role of Hormones in Weight Loss
Signe Torekov, one of the study’s authors, explained that during weight loss, ghrelin (the hunger hormone) levels increase, while leptin (the appetite-suppressing hormone) levels decrease. This hormonal imbalance leads to muscle mass loss, reduced energy consumption, and often results in rebound weight gain.
Combining Exercise and Medication for Sustainable Weight Loss
The study involved 215 Danish participants with obesity who followed a low-calorie diet strategy for eight weeks. Some participants also engaged in exercise and medication for weight control. The research team divided participants into groups receiving GLP-1 hormone-suppressing medication and those receiving a placebo. Both groups were further divided into subgroups, performing either 150 minutes of moderate-to-high-intensity exercise per week or maintaining their usual activity levels.
After the eight-week program, participants experienced an average weight loss of 13 kg, and blood sugar and blood pressure levels improved. After a year of ongoing nutritional, dietary, and exercise counseling, participants taking GLP-1 medication and exercising 150 minutes per week maintained their weight loss with no rebound. Blood sugar levels improved, and muscle mass was maintained.
On the other hand, participants in the placebo group and those who maintained their usual activity levels experienced nearly half of their weight regain within a year and showed signs of worsening blood sugar levels.
Key Takeaways for Sustainable Weight Loss
The study highlights the importance of combining exercise and medication in achieving sustainable weight loss. Engaging in 115 minutes of high-intensity exercise per week, such as cycling, can help maintain weight without rebounding. Combining exercise with weight control medication can further enhance the effects.
Moreover, the study emphasizes the need for professional follow-up, guidance, and accurate exercise strategies to prevent weight rebound. A comprehensive treatment plan designed by doctors and nutritionists can effectively help obese individuals achieve long-term, healthy weight loss.
The key to sustainable weight loss lies in a combination of exercise, medication, and professional guidance. By adopting a well-rounded approach, individuals can combat obesity, improve their health, and maintain a healthy weight in the long run.