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Study Suggests Birth Control Pills Don’t Cause Weight Gain

Image Courtesy - Getty Images(PORTLAND, Ore.) – New researched performed on monkeys shows that the notion of birth control pills causing weight gain is not necessarily true. A study conducted at the Oregon National Primate Research Center sought to counter the popular notion that oral contraceptives are a direct cause of added pounds.

"Issues surrounding weight are hard to study in humans, and the research thus far has been insufficient to demonstrate whether or not oral contraceptives cause weight gain or loss. But this is an extremely important question as concern about weight gain is one of the main reasons why women may avoid or discontinue birth control, which in turn places them at greater risk for an unplanned pregnancy,” said Alison Edelman, M.D., the lead author of the study.

The study took one group of overweight monkeys and another group of normal monkeys and over eight months, the two groups were given oral contraceptives. The researchers tracked the primates weight, food intake, activity levels, body fat and lean muscle mass. At the end of the study, the normal group did not have a fluctuation in weight, but the obese group ended up losing weight and body fat.

"This study suggests that worries about weight gain with pill use appear to be based more on fiction than on fact," said Judy Cameron, Ph.D., senior author of the paper and a researcher at the primate center. “We realize that research in nonhuman primates cannot entirely dismiss the connection between contraceptives and weight gain in humans, but it strongly suggests that women should not be as worried as they previously were."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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