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12-06-2011 | Diabetes | Article

Women with Type 2 diabetes have difficulty losing weight


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MedWire News: Women with Type 2 diabetes who are overweight or obese find it more difficult to lose weight than their nondiabetic overweight peers, suggest findings from a study of Iranian women.

The authors note that diabetic women who are better educated appear to have less difficulty losing weight, suggesting that lack of education and possibly poorer access to weight-loss resources may be at least partly to blame.

"Weight reduction has been shown to reduce long-term morbidity and mortality from Type 2 diabetes in obese patients," explain Mohsen Maddah and colleagues from the Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences.

"However, antidiabetic medications are believed to play as a barrier for successful weight reduction in diabetic patients."

To investigate this further, they carried out a study of 176 diabetic and 1273 nondiabetic women with a body mass index (BMI) between 27 and 40 kg/m2 who attended a weight-loss clinic in Rasht in northern Iran. All the women were prescribed a low-calorie diet and were followed up at 1 year to evaluate weight loss.

The mean weight loss achieved by the diabetic women was significantly lower than that of the nondiabetic women at 1 year, at a mean of 3.1 kg versus 4.7 kg.

Overall, 22.9% and 10.4% of the diabetic women successfully lost 5% and 10% of their initial body weight, respectively, compared with a corresponding 41.9% and 18.2% of the nondiabetic women.

The researchers say that unlike other similar intervention studies, they did not recommend increasing exercise as part of the intervention. They explain that "increasing physical activity, especially outdoor activities is not possible for Iranian women due to the Islamic rules regarding dressing style and also very limited facilities for outdoor exercise for women in Islamic Republic of Iran."

Maddah and colleagues stratified the results according to the level of education that the women had received. Whilst diabetic women with less than 5 years of schooling only managed to lose a mean of 1.7 kg, compared with 4.7 kg lost by nondiabetic women with similar education levels, diabetic women with more than 12 years of education actually lost more weight than similarly educated nondiabetic women, at a mean of 5.2 versus 4.5 kg.

Writing in the International Journal of Cardiology, Maddah and team comment: "More studies are needed to clarify the role of age, level of education or other possible barriers for successful weight loss in men and women especially in developing countries."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Helen Albert