Weight cycling, weight gain, and risk of hypertension in women

Alison E. Field, Tim Byers, David J. Hunter, Nan M. Laird, Jo Ann E. Manson, David F. Williamson, Walter C. Willett, Graham A. Colditz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Scopus citations


To assess prospectively the relation between body mass index, weight gain, repeated intentional weight losses, and the risk of self-reported hypertension, the authors studied 46,224 women who were participants in the Nurses Health Study II, who were free of hypertension in 1993, and who completed questions on intentional weight losses between 1989 and 1993. Women who reported they had intentionally lost ≥20 lbs (9 kg) ≥3 times were classified as severe weight cyclers. Women who had intentionally lost ≥10 lbs (4.5 kg) ≥3 times, but who did not meet the criteria for severe weight cycling, were classified as mild weight cyclers. Between 1993 and 1995, 1,107 incident cases of diagnosed hypertension were reported. Body mass index and weight gain, but not weight cycler status, were independently associated with the development of hypertension. For each 10 lb (4.5 kg) gain in weight between 1989 and 1993, the risk of hypertension increased 20% (odds ratio (OR) = 1.20, 95% confidence interval (Cl) 1.15, 1.24). After adjustment for body mass index and weight gain, the risks associated with mild weight cycling (OR = 1.15, 95% Cl 1.00, 1.33) and severe weight cycling (OR = 1.13, 95% Cl 0.79, 1.61) were small and not significant. Thus, the results of this study offer support for the current weight guidelines and provide further evidence of the health risks associated with excessive weight and weight gain. However, these data do not suggest an independent effect of weight cycling on risk of hypertension.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573-579
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 15 1999


  • Body weight
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Weight gain
  • Weight loss


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