Losing weight at any age during adulthood has been linked to better cardiovascular health, according to a new study.
It is no secret that healthy weight loss comes with its own set of benefits. Confirming this, a new study by researchers from University College London found that losing weight at any age during adulthood offers a series of long-term heart and vascular benefits.
"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," lead author Professor John Deanfield from University College London (UCL) said in a press statement. "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."
The study authors examined data of 1273 men and women from the UK Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development (NSHD). All these participants were born in March 1946. Based on their weight at birth and at ages 36, 43, 53 and 60-64 years, the participants were divided into normal weight, overweight, or obese groups. After that, researchers used cardiovascular phenotyping to assess the effect of lifetime exposure to adiposity on cardiovascular risk factors.
Previous studies have established that long exposure to adiposity in adulthood increases the risk of cardiovascular-related problems in later life, including increased thickness of the carotid artery walls, raised systolic blood pressure and increased risk of diabetes.
Researchers found that adults who lost weight at any age and subsequently dropped one BMI category (obese to overweight or overweight to normal) were able to reap long-term heart and vascular benefits, even if they regained weight later.
Unfortunately, only 2 percent of the study participants were able to drop one BMI category during the study period. This finding emphasizes on the need for proper weight maintenance during adulthood. Increased physical activities and healthier diets are sure shot ways to prevent weight gain during middle-age and early adulthood.
"The results of this study affirm a continued emphasis on public health policies that enable lifestyle changes to achieve and, especially, to maintain a healthy BMI," the researchers noted.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 34 percent of American adults are obese and have a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death.
The study was published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology and funded by the Medical Research Council and the British Heart Foundation.