When is the best time to lose weight?
Shedding some pounds can make people feel better physically and mentally and can be the key to a healthy lifestyle.
However, new research suggests that when you lose weight can be important.
A study published in BMJ found that weight loss in middle age or late adulthood may increase the risk of an early death, particularly when it comes to heart disease. Additionally, the link between weight gain and mortality weakens as you get older.
So, is there a better time in life to lose weight than others?
“Maintaining a healthy weight throughout life or losing weight at an earlier age can lead to a healthier lifestyle and lowers the risk of life-threatening conditions as you age, like diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer,” says Paula Carlton, family medicine practitioner with Aurora Health Care.
It’s not known if those who lost weight during the study were showing signs of a condition that had already developed, like diabetes or cancer, or if from somebody who was obese lost weight and was already at risk of premature death.
Researchers are just scratching the surface and more needs to be learned about what the findings mean for older adults who are overweight. Carlton says to adjust your attitudes on your weight as you age.
One reason why the findings are important is because obesity is a disease that is a major public health problem in the United States. Nearly 100 million Americans are overweight and 70 million are classified as obese.
People with obesity who were studied had the highest risk of premature death. Those who gained weight from their mid-20s onward also saw an increased risk of early death. However, the mortality risk for those who lost weight in middle ages and older increased significantly.
“No matter their age, people with severe obesity should always try to lose weight,” says Carlton. “Not only do the health benefits outweigh any additional risks for early mortality, but they could even help save their lives.”
“When you’re young, aim for your best weight and shed extra pounds if needed to prevent serious health problems down the road. As you get older, while you may want to pay attention to what the scale says, focus more on maintaining a healthy lifestyle,” says Carlton.
About the Author
Matt Queen, health enews contributor, is a communication coordinator at Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee. He is a former TV sports anchor and journalist with extensive public relations experience across the health care spectrum. Outside of work, Matt enjoys watching sports (of course), cooking, gardening, golfing and spending time with his wife and two young children.