Washington: The combination of dieting and exercise can make you shed 11 percent of your weight -- way more than what you would lose by following either of the strategy individually, says a new study.
"We were surprised at how successful the women were," said Anne McTiernan, director of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre (FHCRC), reports the journal Obesity.
The year-long intervention involved 439 overweight-to-obese, sedentary, post-menopausal, Seattle-area women, aged 50-75, who were randomly assigned to one of four groups: exercise only, diet only, exercise and diet and no intervention.
Researchers found that the women in the exercise-only group lost, on average, 2.4 percent of their starting weight as compared to an average weight loss of 8.5 percent among women in the diet-only group.
The greatest weight loss was achieved by women who both changed their diet and exercised regularly; these women shed an average of 10.8 percent of their starting weight (with a mean weight loss of 19.8 pounds).
Two-thirds of the women in this group achieved the study goal of losing at least 10 percent of their starting weight.
"Even though this degree of weight loss may not bring an obese individual to a normal weight, losing even this modest amount of weight can bring health benefits such as a reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer," added Mc Tiernan, who led the study, according to a FHCRC statement.