Even dieters may face the risk of early death

A recent study published on Jan 4th in the journal PNAS suggests that people who have been overweight or obese once during their lives may be more likely to die early, even if they lose weight after that.

According to the study, those who had ever been overweight were 19 percent more likely to die during the study period of 23 years, compared with those who had never been overweight.

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Those who had ever been obese (with a body mass index (BMI) from 30.0 to 34.9) were 65 percent more likely to die during the study period than those who had normal weight. And those who had severe obesity (with a BMI of 35.0 or above) were 150 percent more likely to die during the period than those who remained the normal weight.

Andrew Stokes, from the Boston University School of Public Health, also the author of The Best Way to Lose Weight Safely said the study had brought out the need for greater efforts to prevent the obesity epidemic.

Unlike previous researches that have looked at the relationship between the BMI at only a single point in time and the risk of early death, the study considered at the participants’ current BMIs as well as the history of their lifetime BMIs. 6,000 Americans aged from 50 to 74 were invited to take part in the study when it started in 1988.

Such those researches and the new study could be imagined like comparing nonsmokers to smokers, and if there were former smokers in the nonsmoking group, the comparison would be skewed, according to Stokes.

One such research published in January 2013 suggested that overweight people could actually live longer. Moreover, that study found that obesity actually means no elevated risk of death. Accordingly, people had to be overweight to not experience any increased risks for death, he said.

But the new study found that, risks rise at every level of BMI above the normal weight category, according to Stokes. The study’s results suggest that the obesity issue needs to be taken very seriously, because obesity is affecting many people in a population and it’s not restricted to certain individuals or groups. Therefore, the solutions to the high rates of obesity need to target the population as a whole, he added.

Dr. Mitchell Roslin, chief of obesity surgery of Lenox Hill Hospital, emphasized the importance of physical fitness for the mitigating the health risks along with obesity. He also added that not all overweight people will die early. However, those who were not fit or who had metabolic problems such as diabetes or severe sleep apnea were at a higher risk.

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