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Losing Weight Before Midlife Cuts Mortality Risk

Risk lower for those who dropped from obese to overweight versus those who remained obese

FRIDAY, Aug. 28, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Weight loss from obesity to overweight between early adulthood through midlife is associated with a lower risk for early death compared with maintaining obesity, according to a study published online Aug. 14 in JAMA Network Open.

Wubin Xie, Dr.P.H., from Boston University School of Public Health, and colleagues examined the risk for all-cause mortality among adults who lost weight between early adulthood and midlife versus adults who were persistently obese during the same period. The analysis included data from 24,205 adults (aged 40 to 74 years at baseline) participating in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III (1988 to 1994) with continuous follow-up through 2014.

The researchers found that during a mean follow-up of 10.7 years, 5,846 deaths occurred. There was a reduction in mortality risk for those with weight loss from obese to overweight (hazard ratio, 0.46) versus individuals with stable obesity between early adulthood and midlife. If those who maintained an obese body mass index (BMI) had lost weight to an overweight BMI by midlife, an estimated 3.2 percent of early deaths could have been avoided. Having weight in excess of the normal BMI range at any point between early and mid-adulthood may have contributed to an estimated 12.4 percent of early deaths.

“These findings support the importance of population-based approaches to preventing weight gain across the life course and a need for greater emphasis on treating obesity early in life,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the medical device industry.

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