Losing just 6kgs ``enough for big health gain``

Updated: Apr 20, 2010, 00:00 AM IST

Sydney: Losing just six kilograms results in a major health gain, says a new study.

Australian scientists said that obesity raises the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

It sparks damaging changes to immune systems, they added.

However, the new study showed that losing just six kilograms was enough to dramatically turn things around.

"We`ve found that a modest weight loss, of about six kilograms, is enough to bring the pro-inflammatory nature of circulating immune cells back to that found in lean people," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted study`s co-author Katherine Samaras as saying in a statement.

"These inflammatory cells are involved in promoting coronary artery disease and other illnesses associated with obesity.

"This is the first time it has been shown that modest weight reduction reverses some of the very adverse inflammatory changes we see in people with diabetes," she added.

To reach the conclusion, Samaras and her colleague studied the immune system functioning of obese people with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes who were put on a restricted calorie diet.

Study participants were limited to between 1000 to 1600 calories a day for 24 weeks, while they also had gastric banding surgery halfway through the trial to further restrict their food intake.

The research showed that only a small amount of weight loss could reap an 80 per cent reduction in these pro-inflammatory cells as well as other positive effects for the immune system.

Samaras said overall the study showed how even minor lifestyle changes could avert the development of life-threatening illness.

The study has been published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology Metabolism this week.