Is it time to ditch the diet and focus on healthy living? Science says maybe. When you thought it was safe to lose weight, new research indicates that losing weight in middle age to late adulthood may increase your risk of premature death later in life.
Limitations of the Study
There are a few things to note about the study. The researchers used the age range of 30-80 years as middle adulthood and the overlapping range or 40-90 as late adulthood. Also, the authors could not differentiate between intentional and unintentional weight loss. This means that when weight loss is due to an illness such as cancer, weight loss may not have been the determining factor for mortality.
Lastly, the authors did not take note of changes in waist circumference or fat mass and mortality. Repeat studies that take into consideration these additional factors are needed.
Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle Is Key
There’s a lot to unpack in this research, but the main thing to keep in mind is that more research is needed to determine truly understand the link between changes in weight and mortality, and the long-term health consequences of weight loss.
It is not clear the connection for individuals who were already obese, since they may have already been at a higher risk of mortality regardless of whether or not they lost weight. The study found that those who remained overweight, but not obese as adults had less of an increased risk of premature death.
Focusing on maintaining a healthy lifestyle is more important at that age, and weight is a secondary issue.
A Note from GR8NESS
Of course, it’s best to maintain a healthy BMI, but this research seems to indicate that fluctuating between weights could be riskier than maintaining a BMI that is slightly higher than average. Since more research is needed, don’t give up your healthy living plans.