A new American study found that weight loss before middle age (40s) may significantly reduce the risk of premature mortality.
According to the study, published in the international journal JAMA Network Open, people over the age of 25 who were defined as “obese” and lost weight until they were defined as “overweight”, even before reaching middle age, managed to reduce their chances of dying prematurely by 54 percent. (Death before the average life expectancy).
The researchers reviewed the personal data of 24,205 people aged 40-74 who appear in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Database. The data were collected once every two years between 1999 and 2015.
Using the data, the researchers calculated the body mass index (BMI) of each participant. In addition, each one reported to researchers their weight at age 25 and their weight ten years prior to the start of the study.
The study lasted about seven years during which 5,846 people died. The researchers compared and examined whether there was a relationship between a change in the body mass index (BMI) of the subjects and their likelihood of death during the study period.
The researchers found that the lowest risk of death was among people whose weight was “normal” at age 25 and maintained their weight even in middle age (40s).
The researchers also found that people who were 25 and defined as “obese” but managed to lose weight by middle age (40s), a drop to the “overweight” criterion, were able to reduce the risk of dying in obesity by 54 percent, compared to people who remained fat even in middle age.
The study also concludes that a change in weight from “obesity” to “overweight” after middle age has not succeeded in reducing the risk of early death. The researchers explain the finding saying that weight loss at a relatively older age is often unintentional and related to health problems or age-related muscle mass loss.
While weight loss at younger ages is often accompanied by a decrease in fat mass and is often not associated with the onset of chronic diseases. The researchers neutralized all the changing factors that can affect outcomes like socioeconomic status, smoking habits, and the like.
The study relied in part on the independent reports of the participants and not all respondents may remember exactly their weight at younger ages. At the same time, the researchers believe that the findings are important.
“Our findings are troubling because they state that mid-life obesity significantly increases the risk of early death and obesity rates in the Western world are rising,” say researchers at Boston University.
“At the same time, there is room for optimism because it is often enough to lose a few pounds and move from the definition of obesity to being overweight in order to significantly reduce the risk of premature mortality.”
Obesity is a disease and one of the leading causes of chronic illness. The findings of this study reinforce the need to address this problem early in life even before the development of comorbidities. obese people can draw encouragement from the conclusions of the study since in most cases it is not necessary to lose many tens of pounds, in order to significantly reduce the chance of mortality.