Weight loss at any age can improve cardiovascular health

Overweight adults of any age who manage to drop a BMI category can reduce their risk of cardiovascular events, according to a new study from the UK Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development.

These first-time findings suggest that it doesn't matter what age you are – losing weight will be beneficial for your heart health. And since diabetics are at increased risk for cardiovascular complications, the incentive for shedding a few pounds may now be even greater.

Lead author Professor John Deanfield from University College London explained:

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. Our findings suggest that losing weight at any age can result in long-term cardiovascular health benefits, and [they] support public health strategies and lifestyle modifications that help individuals who are overweight or obese to lose weight at all ages.

Back to BMI?

While using BMI to measure health has been a hotly debated topic in the medical community over the last several years, this study suggests there is evidence that continuing to focus on BMI is a good strategy.

"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," said Elizabeth Cespedes and Frank Hu from the Harvard School of Public Health.

And since only 2 percent of the study participants sustained the BMI drop, it's important for adults to find ways to focus on weight maintenance after a significant loss, they said.

The study is published in the The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

Source: The Lancet

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