Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Dietary Treatment Most Effective for Losing Weight after Pregnancy

While nursing and exercise help, sustainable weight loss after pregnancy requires lifestyle changes. A clinical trial conducted by Sahlgrenska Academy found that women who underwent dietary treatment averaged 10 percent weight loss.

Most women gain weight during pregnancy – typically only a few pounds, but pronounced and permanent approximately one-fifth of the time.

Given that a high body mass index increases the risk of complications and disease during and after pregnancy, the trend towards greater weight gain poses a serious public health issue. Women who are significantly overweight even before pregnancy are particularly vulnerable.

A 12-week study of 68 overweight or obese lactating women by researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, evaluated a dietary treatment method that produced an average of 10 percent weight loss.

The weight loss remained at one-year follow-up.

“The treatment involved providing the subjects with individual advice and support,” says Fredrik Bertz, the Sahlgrenska researcher who led the study. “The goal was for them to gradually reduce their consumption of sweets, snacks and soft drinks, choose low-sugar, low-fat food, fill half their plates with vegetables, cut back on the size of their servings, and weigh themselves on a regular basis.

“The results were unexpectedly encouraging. Not only did the women lose considerable weight, but they did not regain half of it during the first year as is normally the case when people go off a diet. The use of sophisticated methods also permitted us to confirm the effect of the treatment on calorie intake, metabolic rate and body composition (ratio of muscle to fat).”

Apart from ensuring the best possible nutrition for a baby, nursing helps a woman lose weight. In Mr. Bertz’s view, however, breastfeeding is not enough to produce the substantial reductions that overweight and obese women need.

“Little knowledge was previously available,” he says, “about the best way of treating obesity after pregnancy – diet, exercise or a combination of the two – to ensure permanent weight loss.

“This study has generated scientific data for developing new policies and making wise clinical choices. Our hope is that the results will help women achieve permanent weight loss after pregnancy.”

Surprisingly, the subjects who exercised in addition to receiving dietary treatment did not lose more weight.

“The reason may be is that all of the participants in the study were already relatively active,” Mr. Bertz says, “so that they were not in a position to significantly increase their metabolic rate. Previous research has found that exercise alone falls short as a strategy for losing weight.”

The article, entitled “Diet and Exercise Weight-loss Trial in Lactating Overweight and Obese Women,” appeared in the October 2012 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.


The study consisted of two phases: 12-week treatment, followed by nine months during which the subjects were on their own. Each subject was randomly assigned to one of four groups.

One group received individual dietary counseling based on Swedish nutritional recommendations, as well as instructions to weigh themselves three times a week in order to adjust their calorie intake. The target was weight loss of 1.1 pounds per week. Another group received individual exercise counseling and a pulsometer in order to adjust the intensity of milder exercise sessions. A third group received both dietary and exercise counseling, while the fourth (control) group did not receive any counseling at all.

Fredrik Bertz, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg
Cell: +46 733 803 842
Phone: +46 31 786 3708

Krister Svahn | idw
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht NIH scientists describe potential antibody treatment for multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae
14.03.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

nachricht Researchers identify key step in viral replication
13.03.2018 | University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

A new kind of quantum bits in two dimensions

19.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists have a new way to gauge the growth of nanowires

19.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>