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Intentional Weight Loss and Mortality
Weight Loss Leads to Increased Longevity and Lifespan Among Obese Patients
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Intentional Weight Loss & Mortality

Short-term studies indicate that intentional weight loss (IWL) among obese persons significantly improves health variables that are often precursors or markers of chronic diseases (e.g. heart diseases, type-2 diabetes). Hence, it is logical to assume that intentional weight loss among obese persons would lead to increased longevity. On the whole, epidemiological studies, including recent ones that use conservative analytic approaches such as distinguishing between apparently intentional weight loss and unintentional weight loss (UWL), adjusting for potential confounders and excluding apparently unhealthy subjects, indicate that apparently intentional weight loss appears to neither increase nor decrease mortality rate. However, it is important to note that none of the existing studies were designed specifically to test the hypothesis that intentional weight loss reduces mortality rate, and given methodological problems, these studies do not provide a satisfactory way to address the body mass index (BMI)-mortality question. Several controlled clinical trials suggest that intentional weight loss may reduce mortality rate. However, even in these studies, it is important to acknowledge that subjects are randomized to conditions that produce more or less weight loss and not to distinct levels of weight loss per se.

Nevertheless, while we await additional data from better designed studies, given our incomplete knowledge, we conclude that it seems more likely than not that intentional weight loss achieved by medically recommended methods does not increase and probably decreases mortality rate.

Source: Yang D, Fontaine KR, Wang C, Allison DB. Department of Biostatistics, Section on Statistical Genetics, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA.

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