Skip to content

The repetitive loss and regain of body weight, referred to as weight cycling, appears to be a prevalent phenomenon, with an incidence ranging from 10 to 40% in Western countries. Studies have reported mixed findings on behavioral and physiological changes over successive weight loss attempts, including worse compliance and effects on body fat distribution, energy expenditure, and specific co-morbidities [1]. 


In a recently published study report by Mason and colleagues, 439 overweight, inactive, postmenopausal women were randomized to: (1) dietary weight loss with a 10% weight loss goal ([i]n[/i] = 118); (2) moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic exercise for 45 min/day, 5 days/week ([i]n[/i] = 117); (3) both dietary weight loss and exercise ([i]n[/i] = 117); or (4) control ([i]n[/i] = 87). Women were categorized as non-, moderate (past history of three episodes of weight losses of ≥ 4.5 kg), or severe cyclers (past history of three episodes of weight losses of ≥ 9.1 kg). Moderate ([i]n[/i] = 103) and severe ([i]n[/i] = 77) cyclers were heavier and had less favorable metabolic profiles than non-cyclers at baseline. Mason and colleagues concluded that a history of weight cycling does not impede successful participation in lifestyle interventions or alter the benefits of diet and/or exercise on body composition and metabolic outcomes [1].


  • Jyothi Unni
    Jehangir Hospital, Pune, India


  1. Mason C, Foster-Schubert KE, Imayama I, et al. History of weight cycling does not impede future weight loss or metabolic improvements in postmenopausal women. Metabolism 2012 Aug 13. Epub ahead of print
  2. Stevens VL, Jacobs EJ, Sun J, et al. Weight cycling and mortality in a large prospective US study. Am J Epidemiol 2012;175:785-92.
  3. Stevens VL, Jacobs EJ, Sun J, et al. Weight cycling and risk of endometrial cancer. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2012;21:747-52.
  4. Weight cycling. National Task Force on the Prevention and Treatment of Obesity. JAMA 1994;272:1196-202.
International Menopause Society

Install International Menopause Society - DEV

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap then “Add to Home Screen”