Trying to lose weight improves survivability

According to a new study trying to lose weight is better than not trying, even if you don’t succeed.

bq. In a study of more than 6,000 obese and overweight people 35 and older who were followed for up to nine years, the death rate was 24% lower in people who lost weight intentionally than in people who did not try to shed pounds and whose weight stayed steady. But the death rate was 31% higher in people who lost weight unintentionally, the researchers report in the March 4th issue of the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

bq. For people who were trying to trim down, those who actually lost weight had the lowest death rate. In a somewhat surprising finding, however, even people who were trying to lose weight but did not succeed had a lower death rate.

When I first saw this on Chuq’s blog, I was particularly fascinated by the _”death rate was 31% higher in people who lost weight unintentionally”_ part. Apparently one focus of this new study was to try to filter out unintentional weight loss:

bq. “There is a widespread assumption that weight loss is good,” Dr. Edward W. Gregg told Reuters Health in an interview. Weight loss is proven to have beneficial effects on several risk factors for disease, including high blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood sugar, explained Gregg, who is at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia.

bq. But the evidence linking weight loss to these improvements comes from relatively short-term studies, Gregg said. There is not really any very convincing evidence that losing weight decreases the risk of dying, according to Gregg.

bq. In fact, the CDC researcher pointed out that a large number of studies have suggested that people who lose weight may actually be at greater risk of premature death.

bq. The problem with most of these studies, Gregg said, is that they did not separate intentional weight loss from weight loss that occurred because of disease.

I guess this is more evidence to support the “every little bit helps” theory of health management. We already know that going from “couch potato” to “exercise 30 minutes per day” has the largest health benefit; now we have a similar result on the weightloss side. Of course, this doesn’t mean we should get complacent!

posted at 10:15 am on Tuesday, March 04, 2003 in Personal | Comments (1)

1 Comment

  1. anand says:

    Very interesting statistics you have up there.

    Must link to this page to provide more information for visitors to my site.

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