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Diet and exercise best for post-natal weight management

Women keen to lose weight after childbirth should combine diet and exercise claims a new study published by the influential Cochrane Database.

Researchers gathered data from published and unpublished intervention studies that had followed-up women’s weight after childbirth. Women who did exercise did not lose significantly more than women who have a standard post-natal lifestyle.   However, when a healthy diet and exercise were combined, women were able to lose more weight following the birth of their babies. This weight loss did not affect their ability to breastfeed.

The study is important because it is believed that excess weight gained during pregnancy is difficult to lose and may affect a woman’s long-term risk of obesity. Health professionals have traditionally avoided giving diet and exercise advice to new mothers in case this affects breast-feeding. The findings of the Cochrane analysis should be reassuring to many, although the researchers claim that evidence from larger trials is needed in order to refine recommendations.

For more information, see
Amorim A et al (2007). Diet or exercise, or both, for weight reduction in women after childbirth. Cochrane Database Systematic Reviews, July 18th (issue 3), No CD005627.

EUFIC related material:
Health & Lifestyle-Diet & weight control
Health & Lifestyle-Food for all ages
Diet-related diseases-Obesity


The European Food Information Council (EUFIC) is a non-profit organisation which communicates science-based information on nutrition and health, food safety and quality, to help consumers to be better informed when choosing a well-balanced, safe and healthful diet.

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This site was last updated 24/08/2016
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