Other Health Outcomes Bone Status Cancer and Diabetes

Although a number of the original weight cycling studies also tested associations between weight cycling and cancer, cancer end points have typically not followed the same patterns as cardiovascular disease. It has also been observed that temporary weight cycling (weight loss followed by weight gain) is not associated with increased risk of post-menopausal breast cancer.

It has been proposed that weight cycling may affect bone density and fracture risk, but the evidence here is also mixed. For instance, one study observed that men and women with most weight variability had an increased incidence of hip fracture, whereas another observed no apparent relation between weight cycling and bone density.

Finally, a number of studies have examined associations between weight cycling and diabetes and have yielded little evidence of a relation. According to findings from the Nurses Health Study, no association was found between weight fluctuation and diabetes incidence. In another study, glucose tolerance and weight fluctuations were directly monitored in obese patients, and no deterioration was observed to be directly associated with weight cycling. Interestingly, the Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group found that the diabetes reduction achieved over 4 years with a lifestyle intervention was not diminished with the gradual regaining of more than half of the weight lost. This observation is an indication that a period of weight reduction may exert a net benefit for diabetes, even if weight is subsequently regained.

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