I am sure you have heard that losing weight can help you to live a healthier longer life. However, new research suggests that may not always be the case. In fact, losing a significant amount of weight later in life, may actually increase your risk of premature death!
This new study has shown surprising results that could change one common perception – weight loss yields healthier people at any age.
From sleep apnea, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, arthritis, and diabetes to certain types of cancers, obesity has been scientifically linked to innumerable health problems. News headlines linking a new ailment or disease back to obesity aren’t all that shocking any longer, and we all know the common universal advice is to lose weight in order to avoid and lessen the risk of obesity-related health issues down the road.
But, it may not be all that simple according to a new study linking certain body weight changes to premature death. The study begs the question “could we be focusing on the wrong obesity countermeasures at the wrong time?”
The study, recently published in The British Medical Journal, examined US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data from over 36,000 men and women at least 40-years-old. The data included a variety of health-gauging information, including physical exams, specimen samples, and interviews. Researchers found that the association between mortality and weight gain lessens with age. In fact, your risk of premature death may be elevated if you’re a middle-aged to late adult, losing weight. The study found this was particularly true in relation to heart disease.
Key findings of the study included:
- BMI-measured obesity levels throughout adult life yielded the highest risk of premature death.
- Compared to those with normal weights throughout adult life, those gaining weight from the mid-20s into their middle-aged years had an increased risk of mortality.
- Overweight, not obese, individuals remaining overweight throughout adulthood had little, if any, increased risk of premature death.
- Increased mortality risk was significantly related to weight loss during the middle-age to late adulthood years.
According to the study’s author, An Pan, the research shows that the best prevention method to reduce the risk of premature death in later life is to prevent weight gain during your younger years. Shout out to all the moms out there! If you want your kids to live long and healthy lives, its best that they do not become overweight when they are young, and then try to make up for it by getting “back in shape” in later years.