Balancing exercise and food intake with lactation to promote post-partum weight loss.

Nutrition Department, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, PO Box 26170, Greensboro, NC 27402-6170, USA.
Proceedings of The Nutrition Society (Impact Factor: 4.94). 02/2011; 70(2):181-4. DOI: 10.1017/S002966511100005X
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Excess weight gain during pregnancy and post-partum weight retention are risk factors for obesity. While many studies report average weight retained from pregnancy is only 0·5-3·0 kg; between 14 and 20% of women are 5 kg heavier at 6-18 months post-partum than they were before pregnancy. Among normal-weight women, lactation usually promotes weight loss to a moderate extent, but not among those with BMI≥35 kg/m2. While exercise and energy restriction may promote weight loss during lactation, their effect on milk volume and composition and, consequently, infant growth must be considered. The effect of exercise on lactation performance has been investigated. Moderate aerobic exercise of 45 min/d, 5 d/week improved cardiovascular fitness, plasma lipids and insulin response; however, it did not promote post-partum weight loss. Breast milk volume and composition were not affected. The effect of exercise with energy restriction in overweight women on the growth of their infants has also been studied. At 1 month post-partum, women restricted their energy intake by 2092 kJ/d and exercised 45 min/d, 4 d/week for 10 weeks. Women in the diet and exercise group lost more weight than the control group (4·8 (sd 1·7) kg v. 0·8 (sd 2·3) kg); however, there were no differences in infant growth. Based on the current evidence, it is recommended that once lactation is established, overweight women may restrict their energy intake by 2092 kJ/d and exercise aerobically 4 d/week to promote a weight loss of 0·5 kg/week.

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    ABSTRACT: For women of reproductive age, excessive gestational weight gain (GWG) and/or postpartum weight retention can increase the risk of obesity. This systematic review evaluates the effectiveness of lifestyle modification control trials that utilize exercise interventions, with or without dietary intervention, on weight loss among postpartum women. A search of randomized clinical trials (RCT) was performed using the follow databases and the bibliography of candidate studies: MEDLINE, Web of Science, EMBASE, CENTRAL/Cochrane and Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro). English language RCT papers published up to October 31st, 2012 which present changes on maternal body weight from baseline to the end of exercise intervention were included. The primary meta-analysis examined the effect of exercise interventions, with or without complementary dietary intervention, on weight loss during the postpartum period compared to usual standard of care. Five subgroup analyses were performed to examine differences in study interventions and exercise modalities: duration of intervention, quality of study methodology, supervision of exercise intervention, exercise intervention goals used and the type of dietary intervention. In total 11 studies met eligibility criteria with 769 participants, 409 under intervention and 360 in the control group. The primary meta-analysis included all 11 studies and found a mean difference (MD) on weight loss of -2.57 kg (95% CI -3.66 to -1.47). The subgroup analysis demonstrated that the most effective interventions in reducing weight in postpartum women were exercise programs with objectively defined goals, such as the use of heart rate monitors or pedometer (MD of -4.09 kg -95% CI -4.94 to -3.25, I(2)=0%), and exercise combined with intensive dietary intervention (MD of -4.34 kg -95% CI -5.15 to -3.52, I(2)=0%). Thus, there is benefit from overall lifestyle interventions on weight loss in postpartum women and exercise plus intensive diet and objective targets are the most effective intervention strategies.International Journal of Obesity accepted article preview online, 19 September 2013. doi:10.1038/ijo.2013.183.
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    ABSTRACT: Background The postpartum period is a vulnerable time for excess weight retention, particularly for the increasing number of women who are overweight at the start of their pregnancy and subsequently find it difficult to lose additional weight gained during pregnancy. Although postpartum weight management interventions play an important role in breaking this potentially vicious cycle of weight gain, the effectiveness of such interventions in breastfeeding women remains unclear. Our aim was to systematically review the literature about the effectiveness of weight management interventions in breastfeeding women.Methods Seven electronic databases were searched for eligible papers. Intervention studies included were carried out exclusively in breastfeeding mothers, ≤2 years postpartum and with a body mass index greater than 18.5 kg/m2, with an outcome measure of change in weight and/or body composition.ResultsSix studies met the selection criteria, and were stratified according to the type of intervention and outcome measures. Despite considerable heterogeneity among studies, the dietary-based intervention studies appeared to be the most efficacious in promoting weight loss; however, few studies were tailored toward the needs of breastfeeding women.Conclusions Weight management interventions which include an energy-restricted diet may play a key role in successful postpartum weight loss for breastfeeding mothers.
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