The American Heart Association released a study finding that yo-yo dieting — the practice of repeatedly starting and stopping a strict diet regiment and gaining and losing weight — may increase the risk of death from heart disease for post-menopausal women.

“Weight cycling is an emerging global health concern associated with attempts of weight loss, but there have been inconsistent results about the health hazards for those who experience weight cycling behavior,” said Somwail Rasla, M.D., study lead author and internal medicine resident at Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island, Alpert Medical School, Brown University, in Providence, RI.

In conducting the research, self-reported weight history from 158,063 post-menopausal women was classified into four categories: stable weight, steady gain, maintained weight loss and weight cycling. During a follow-up of 11.4 years it came to light that women considered “normal-weight” at the start of the study who lost and regained weight had about three-and-a-half times higher risk for sudden cardiac death than women whose weight remained stable.

However, no increase in either type of death occurred among overweight or obese women reporting weight cycling.

Research for the study was presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2016. The study was funded by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.