Adults who lose weight at any age could enjoy improved cardiovascular health

May 21, 2014
Credit: Petr Kratochvil/public domain

Weight loss at any age in adulthood is worthwhile because it could yield long-term heart and vascular benefits, suggests new research published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

The findings are from a study examining the impact of lifelong patterns of weight change on cardiovascular risk factors in a group of British men and women followed since birth in March 1946. They showed that the longer the exposure to excess body fat (adiposity) in the greater the cardiovascular-related problems in later life, including increased thickness of the carotid artery walls, raised systolic blood pressure, and increased risk of diabetes.

For the first time, the findings also indicate that adults who drop a BMI category—from obese to overweight, or from overweight to normal—at any time during adult life, even if they regain weight, can reduce these cardiovascular manifestations.

The study used data from 1273 men and women from the UK Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development (NSHD). Participants were classified as normal weight, overweight, or obese in childhood and at 36, 43, 53, and 60-64 years of age. Cardiovascular phenotyping between the ages of 60 and 64 years with carotid intima media thickness (cIMT; a surrogate marker for cardiovascular events) was used to assess the effect of lifetime exposure to adiposity on cardiovascular risk factors.

According to lead author Professor John Deanfield from University College London (UCL) in the UK, "Our study is unique because it followed individuals for such a long time, more than 60 years, and allowed us to assess the effect of modest, real-life changes in adiposity. Our findings suggest that losing weight at any age can result in long-term cardiovascular health benefits, and support public health strategies and lifestyle modifications that help individuals who are overweight or obese to lose weight at all ages."

Commenting on the study, Elizabeth Cespedes and Frank Hu from the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, USA, write, "Although it is encouraging that even transitory during adulthood has cardiovascular benefits, only 2% of participants in the present study had a sustained reduction in BMI category in adulthood, underscoring the importance of weight maintenance and prevention of weight gain as priorities for public health programming and policy. Improvements in diet and increases in physical activity are crucial levers of long-term weight maintenance and prevention of weight gain in middle- and early adulthood. Overweight individuals might have even greater health benefit from lifestyle changes such as increased physical activity than do normal weight individuals. The results of this study affirm a continued emphasis on policies that enable lifestyle changes to achieve and, especially, to maintain a healthy BMI."

They add that, "Ideally, future research will address long-term patterns of intentional versus unintentional weight loss, the means to achieve weight loss, and the loss maintenance necessary to reduce cardiovascular endpoints."

Explore further: Early obesity linked to increased probability of severe obesity later in life

More information: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/landia/article/PIIS2213-8587(14)70103-2/abstract

Related Stories

Early obesity linked to increased probability of severe obesity later in life

May 6, 2014
Exposure to long-term obesity has become more common with increases in obesity at younger ages. Researchers examined the relationship between BMI at age 25, obesity later in life, and biological indicators of health. They ...

Study shows link between high birth weight and heart disease

March 25, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Babies born with high birth weight may be at increased risk of cardiovascular disease in adulthood, according to a University of Sydney study.

Maintaining weight as important as weight loss

May 14, 2014
More resources should go into helping people maintain their weight loss after dieting, rather than just focussing on losing weight, new research suggests. In a paper published today in the BMJ, researchers from Newcastle ...

Women who gain too much or too little weight during pregnancy at risk for having an overweight child

April 14, 2014
Gaining both too much or too little weight during pregnancy appears to increase the risk of having an overweight or obese child, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published today in the American Journal of Obstetrics ...

Community-based weight loss program aids diabetes management

April 23, 2014
Weight loss and control of blood sugar can reduce the risk of complications in patients with diabetes but this is difficult for many to achieve. A University of California, San Diego School of Medicine randomized controlled ...

No evidence of survival advantage for type 2 diabetes patients who are overweight or obese

January 15, 2014
Being overweight or obese does not lead to improved survival among patients with type 2 diabetes. The large-scale study led by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers refutes previous studies that have suggested ...

Recommended for you

Sugar not so sweet for mental health

July 27, 2017
Sugar may be bad not only for your teeth and your waistline, but also your mental health, claimed a study Thursday that was met with scepticism by other experts.

Could insufficient sleep be adding centimeters to your waistline?

July 27, 2017
Adults in the UK who have poor sleep patterns are more likely to be overweight and obese and have poorer metabolic health, according to a new study.

Vitamin E-deficient embryos are cognitively impaired even after diet improves

July 27, 2017
Zebrafish deficient in vitamin E produce offspring beset by behavioral impairment and metabolic problems, new research at Oregon State University shows.

The role of dosage in assessing risk of hormone therapy for menopause

July 27, 2017
When it comes to assessing the risk of estrogen therapy for menopause, how the therapy is delivered—taking a pill versus wearing a patch on one's skin—doesn't affect risk or benefit, researchers at UCLA and elsewhere ...

Blowing smoke? E-cigarettes might help smokers quit

July 26, 2017
People who used e-cigarettes were more likely to kick the habit than those who didn't, a new study found.

Brain disease seen in most football players in large report

July 25, 2017
Research on 202 former football players found evidence of a brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of them, from athletes in the National Football League, college and even high school.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.