TUESDAY, Aug. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Older women who want to keep off weight -- no small feat for many after menopause -- might consider four specific eating behaviors, according to new research.
"Losing weight and maintaining a weight loss is incredibly difficult," said Bethany Barone Gibbs, an assistant professor of health and physical activity at the University of Pittsburgh.
She looked at both short-term and long-term changes made by nearly 500 overweight or obese women, all in their late 50s.
She found specific eating habits linked with weight loss -- or no weight loss.
Long-term, those who decreased desserts, sugary beverages and cheeses and meats (which were grouped together) and increased fruits and vegetables did best.
The study is published in the September issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Barone Gibbs looked at two time points -- six months and four years. The behavior changes at the six-month mark linked with weight changes were not the same as those linked with weight control at the four-year mark.
At six months, eating fewer desserts, eating fewer fried foods, drinking fewer sugary beverages, eating more fish and eating out less were linked with more weight loss.
However, at the four-year mark, not all those behaviors were still linked with weight loss. This finding suggests that some behaviors aren't typically maintained long-term, she said.
For instance, the link between reducing fried foods and weight control dropped out at the four-year mark. "Maybe you can say no French fries for six months," she said, but not forever.
Long term, those who ate more fruits and vegetables and less meat and cheese were more likely to sustain weight loss.
The changes in diet and weight were small. "If you increased your fruits and vegetables by two servings a day [over whatever you ate bef
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