Losing weight is the process which is more successful when a person is young, according to the study published in the journal JAMA Network Open. The participants whose body mass indexes (BMIs) went from the “obese” range in early adulthood down to the “overweight” range by their midlife halved their risk of early death.
The researchers insist that weight loss after midlife didn’t significantly reduce a person’s risk of early death. According to the new study, weight loss in middle and older age linked to increased mortality risk significantly. Although, this likely because weight loss later in life is often a sign of worsening health parameters.
The study included 24,205 participants between the ages of 40 and 74 and used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. That nationally representative annual survey includes interviews, physical examinations and blood samples to gauge the health of Americans.
For people who used to lose weight, the main problem remains the same – most people who lose weight on a diet gain it back. Overweighting means worsening of health, the vicious circle, said lead author Wubin Xie, a postdoctoral associate in global health at Boston University School of Public Health.
“The present study provides important new evidence on the benefit of maintaining a healthy weight across the life course,” Xi said.
The researchers used the BMI’s of the participants at age 25, 10 years before they entered the study as well as their BMIs at the time of the study to analyze the relationship between BMI change and the likelihood that a participant died during the study.
Prevention of obesity is more successful at younger ages
Obesity is a major public health problem. In the U.S. more than 40% of the population is obese, according to the latest figures from the Centres of Disease Control. Obesity doubles the risk of mortality, and that is the rising nationwide problem.
Study shows that an important opportunity to improve population health through primary and secondary prevention of obesity, particularly at younger ages. Now, the researchers consider that 12.4% of early deaths in the U.S. may be attributable to having a higher BMI at any point between early- and mid-adulthood.
They also estimated that 3.2% of deaths in the study could have been avoided if everyone with a BMI in the “obese” range at age 25 had been able to bring their BMIs down to the “overweight” range by midlife.
However, they note that weight loss is rare. The researchers found that less than 1% of participants had BMIs that went from the “obese” to the “overweight” range.