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Some nutritionists may say that diet is key to losing weight, while personal trainers may recommend vigorous exercise as the path toward a slim waistline. But researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center will tell you that it takes both methods to reach a target weight.
In fact, study participants who both cut calories and engaged in physical activity exceeded the 10 percent weight loss goal set by the team of scientists. Their mean weight loss was almost 20 pounds.
"We were surprised at how successful the women were. 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," said lead author Anne McTiernan, M.D., Ph.D.
The team tested weight loss interventions on a group of 439 postmenopausal women who were either overweight or obese. The women were divided into four groups: One that exercised for 45 minutes five days per week, another that cut their calories to 1,200 to 2,000 per day depending on starting weight, a third that practiced both methods and a fourth control group that took neither measure to lose weight.