Many people gain and lose weight from time to time throughout their lives. Researchers have now found that weight fluctuations have an impact on the risk of death. In a study, it was found that people who lose significant weight in their middle age, have a much higher risk of heart disease. Let’s understand how weight loss and mortality correlate to each other.
Those who are overweight or underweight endanger their health. This is now the general consensus and is a common fact. However, a new study now shows that gaining or losing weight significantly can also be unhealthy, especially at a certain age.
36,000 Subjects Examined For Weight Changes
Researchers at the Chinese Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan have investigated possible links between weight changes and mortality. A total of 36,051 people aged 40 years or older were included in the study.
They also provided information on their body weight in different age groups. On average, the participants were each observed over a period of twelve years.
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Effects on Mortality – Weight Loss and Mortality
10,500 of the subjects died during this period. Compared to the normal-weight people without weight fluctuations, some participants had a significantly higher mortality rate.
Participants who became obese between young and middle adulthood had a 22% higher risk of death from any cause and a 49% higher risk of fatal heart disease. If the weight changed from obese to non-obese at this stage of life, no significant effects on the risk of death were found.
Participants who lost weight or became obese between middle and late adulthood were also 30% more likely to experience death from any cause and 48% more likely to experience death from heart disease. Those who developed obesity during this period had no significant effects on the risk of death.
However, those who did not gain normal weight until middle or late adulthood (mean age 57 years) and were previously obese also increased their risk of death. In this group, the general risk of death was increased by 30%. Deaths from heart disease were 48% more common. However, those who only became obese at this stage of their life did not have an increased risk of death.
Persistent Obesity is Also Dangerous
In contrast, those who were obese across all age groups also increased their risk of death. Between young and middle adulthood, obese people are 70% more likely to die. In middle and late adulthood, the risk of death is still around 20% higher.
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Finally, the researchers point out the correlation between weight loss and mortality and that it is important to prevent weight gain in the first place, especially in young adulthood. This is to reduce the risk of premature death. It should be noted that, surprisingly, the researchers were unable to find any significant associations between various weight changes and cancer mortality.