Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Menopause Health Center

Font Size

Weight Regained in Later Years Has More Fat

Study: If Postmenopausal Women Lose Weight, They're Better Off if They Keep It Off

Was It Aging or Weight Gain?

Because her study did not have a comparison group of postmenopausal women who had not lost and regained weight, Nicklas says, she and her co-authors can’t be certain that the shift in the women's lean-tissue-to-fat composition wasn’t simply due to age. She says she’s seeking funding to study that question.

A 2009 paper on body composition changes in men and women 70-79 compared people who had lost at least 3% of their weight and then regained it with those whose weight remained stable. This weight cycling “may contribute to a net loss of lean mass in older men,” the authors concluded, calling for more research.

“We are still trying to figure out what are the natural changes over time of body composition,” Jung Sun Lee, PhD, author of the 2009 report and an assistant professor of gerontology at the University of Georgia, tells WebMD.

The information is especially important because heavy people are living longer than ever before, Lee says, and there are no clear guidelines for treating their obesity.

Some people say it’s best to leave it alone. “There are a few very vocal geriatricians who are totally against an older person losing weight,” Nicklas notes.

But despite the great likelihood that people will gain it back and the suggestion that it will have an unfavorable impact on their lean-tissue-to-fat composition, “I think there are huge benefits to losing weight,” she says. When older obese people deliberately slim down, their osteoarthritis improves, Nicklas says. They can get up out of chairs and climb stairs more easily. Even if they eventually regain all of the weight, she says, it usually takes a few years to do it.

Nicklas and her co-authors published their findings in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

woman walking outdoors
How to handle headaches, night sweats, and more.
mature woman holding fan in face
Symptoms and treatments.
woman hiding face behind hands
11 ways to keep skin bright and healthy.
Is it menopause or something else?
senior couple
mature woman shopping for produce
Alcohol Disrupting Your Sleep
mature couple on boat
mature woman tugging on her loose skin
senior woman wearing green hat
estrogen gene

WebMD Special Sections