Angiogenesis is the process of blood vessel growth that can also promote the growth and survival of cancer cells.
The findings showed that women who controlled their diet as well as indulged in exercise to gain weight loss also had significantly lower levels of the angiogenesis-related proteins than women in the control group.
But such effects were not apparent in those in the exercise-only group of women, the researchers said.
“Our study shows that weight loss is a safe and effective method of improving the angiogenic profile in healthy individuals,” said Catherine Duggan of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Women who controlled their diet lost 8.5 per cent of body weight. While women who indulged in exercise lost 2.4 per cent of body weight, those who controlled diet as well as did exercise lost 10.8 per cent.
On the other hand, women who did not indulge in any activity lost merely 0.8 per cent.
“Exercise is important for helping to prevent weight gain, and to maintain weight loss, but does not cause a large amount of weight loss on its own,” Duggan added.
“Our study shows that making lifestyle changes — in this case simple changes to the diet to reduce weight — can lower the risk factors for cancer,” Duggan noted.
In the study, published in the journal American Association for Cancer Research, the team analysed 439 obese, healthy, sedentary post-menopausal women aged 50 to 75.
They were assigned to one of the four categories: First in which women restricted their calorie intake to not more than 2,000 kilocalorie per day; second in which women performed 45 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise five days a week; third a combined diet plus exercise group; and lastly a group which did not indulge in any of these activities.
The effect of exercise and diet on the circulating levels of proteins related to angiogenesis after 12 months was measured in these participants.