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"There's an ongoing paradox in weight-loss research as it relates to long-term outcomes," says Edward Gregg, lead author of the study and an epidemiologist with the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion in Atlanta.

"There's a whole lot of evidence that, in the short term, people who are overweight, when they lose weight, they have improvements in a whole lot of risk factors. And at the same time, there's also a fair amount of evidence that people who are at high risk for hypertension and diabetes will reduce their risk of developing those disorders if they lose weight."

Other research, however, has linked weight loss to an increased death rate over the long haul, the study says.

Here, the researchers analyzed data from 6,391 overweight and obese American adults 35 years or older who were part of the National Health Interview Survey. The participants had responded to questions about whether or not they had tried to lose weight.

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An increase in physical activity is an important part of your weight loss program. Physical activity improves your muscle/fat ratio - thus raising metabolism for easier weight loss - and boosts your motivation to maintain the weight you lose.

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