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Cellulite: Does dieting help?

Cincinnati — A new study conducted by researchers from the Skin Sciences Institute, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Research Foundation, found that while most study subjects who lost weight saw an improvement in the appearance of cellulite, for some, the weight loss actually exacerbated the condition.

Study particulars

The study, published in the August issue of the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, followed 29 women on medically monitored weight reduction regimens that included liquid and low-fat diets as well as gastric bypass and gastric banding.

At study conclusion, the appearance of cellulite was improved in 58 percent of the patients, while 31 percent found the dimpled appearance more pronounced.

Study participants experienced weight losses ranging from 2.3 pounds to 102 pounds, averaging 30.5 pounds. Researchers noted that skin elasticity was a factor, and that the patients whose cellulite most improved were those who began the study with a higher body mass index (BMI) and who lost the greatest amount of weight — thus reducing thigh fat percentage.

The patients for whom the condition worsened were those whose skin became significantly less elastic following the weight loss.

Study co-author W. John Kitzmiller, M.D., chief, division of plastic, reconstructive and hand surgery and associate professor of surgery in the College of Medicine at the University of Cincinnati, estimated that some 85 percent of women are affected by cellulite.

Although the appearance of cellulite diminished for the majority of patients, weight loss did not totally eradicate the condition. The dimples appear to be permanent features which lessen in depth as the pounds come off, he says.

The research team notes that additional studies were warranted to better understand the factors influencing cellulite severity.

For more information:

Smalls LK, Hicks M, Passeretti D, et al. Effect of weight loss on cellulite: gynoid lypodystrophy. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2006 Aug;118(2):510-516.

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