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 23 February 2018

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News

Intentional weight loss and death in overweight and obese adults

Attempted weight loss is associated with lower all-cause mortality, independent of weight change, finds a research team in the March issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

News image

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Although weight loss improves risk factors for cardiovascular and metabolic disease, it is unclear whether intentional weight loss reduces mortality rates.

Researchers from the United States examined the relationships among intention to lose weight, weight loss, and all-cause mortality.

Mortality rates were lower in persons who reported trying to lose weight.
Annals of Internal Medicine

The team assessed 6391 overweight and obese persons (body mass index ≥ 25 kg/m2) who were at least 35 years of age.

They measured intention to lose weight and weight change during the past year by patient self-report. The team then followed vital status for 9 years.

Hazard rate ratios (HRRs) were adjusted for age, sex, ethnicity, education, smoking, health status, health care utilization, and initial body mass index.

The research team found that patients reporting intentional weight loss had a 24% lower mortality rate (HRR, 0.76), compared with those not trying to lose weight and reporting no weight change. However, those with unintentional weight loss had a 31% higher mortality rate (HRR, 1.31).

Mortality rates were lower in persons who reported trying to lose weight, than those in not trying to lose weight, independent of actual weight change.

When the team compared persons not trying to lose weight with those trying to lose weight HHRs were 0.80 for no weight change, 0.94 for gained weight, and 0.76 for lost weight.

Dr Edward Gregg’s team concluded, “Attempted weight loss is associated with lower all-cause mortality, independent of weight change”.

“Self-reported intentional weight loss is associated with lower mortality rates, and weight loss is associated with higher mortality rates only if it is unintentional.”

Ann Intern Med 2003; 138:383-9
07 March 2003

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