Healthy Living

Winning at Losing: How Much Weight Loss Does it Take to Be Healthier?

Mar. 31, 2016

Dramatic weight-loss stories can be inspiring to some, yet daunting to others who find their ideal-weight goal elusive. But a new study shows you can win even if you aren’t "The Biggest Loser." UR Medicine Primary Care’s Dr. Natercia Rodrigues explains how a relatively small weight loss can yield big results.
man weighing himself on a scale

Research recently published in the journal Cell Metabolism points to significant benefits for people who lose as little as 5 percent of their body weight, or just 10 pounds for a 200-pound person, for example. In the study, 40 people with obesity (average BMI of 38) were randomly split into two groups. One group maintained their weight while the other lost 5 percent of their body weight. When various health measures were compared, the group that lost weight gained health advantages, especially for their hearts and metabolism.

People in the weight-loss group decreased their total body-fat mass, specifically reducing dangerous fat around the abdomen. They also lowered their triglyceride levels, blood pressure and heart rates, and saw improvements in how their bodies use insulin, resulting in better blood-sugar levels.

The bottom line: A modest decrease in weight can make a big difference—especially when it comes to two important aspects—heart-health and diabetes risk.

So if you’re aiming for better health, eating a well-balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables and stepping up your activity in an effort to lose weight, don’t lose heart if the numbers on your scale are slow to decline. Stick with it and you’re bound to reap good health benefits.

If you need nutrition advice or are new to exercising, it’s always good to discuss your plans with your doctor. Click here if you need help finding a primary care physician.


Natercia Rodrigues, MD


Natercia Rodrigues, M.D., specializes in family medicine and is accepting patients of all ages at UR Medicine’s new downtown location, Manhattan Square Family Medicine, located at 454 East Broad Street in Rochester. For information or to make an appointment, call 585-276-7640.