Attempt to lose weight, lower your mortality rate.
6,391 overweight and obese subjects at least 35 years old filled out a survey in 1989 to determine their intentions to lose weight, and their vital status was then followed for nine years. The subjects' mortality hazard rate ratios were adjusted for age, sex, ethnicity, education, smoking, health status, health care utilization and initial body mass index. The researchers found a 24% drop in mortality among people who lost weight intentionally, compared with subjects not trying to lose weight and reporting no weight change. For those who lost between two and 20 Ibs, mortality rate lowered even further, by 30%.
Interestingly, mortality rates were far lower in people who reported trying to lose weight than in those not trying to lose weight, independent of actual weight change. For these unsuccessful weight-loss subjects, mortality rates fell an impressive 19%. One possible explanation is that attempts to lose weight serve as vehicles to engage in other healthy behaviors that lower mortality.
The CDC research provides an important distinction between intentional weight loss and unintentional weight loss. This reconciles the conflict between the well-known call for maintaining a healthy weight for greater longevity and some studies that have shown an association between weight loss and higher mortality. The study found that people who lost weight without trying had a 31% higher mortality rate than those who didn't attempt and didn't lose any weight. Cancer, heart disease and depression, for example, are causes of such undesired weight loss, and clearly need to be distinguished from contributors to intentional weight loss in the population.
The study concludes, "Attempted weight loss is associated with lower all-cause mortality, independent of weight change... Weight loss is associated with higher mortality rates only if it is unintentional."
(Annals of Internal Medicine, 2003, Vol. 138, No. 5, pp. 383-389)
RELATED ARTICLE: Why Not Walk to Work?
To get in a little low-intensity outdoor fitness, consider trekking on foot to your place of employment. You'll arrive fully awake, and when 9:00 p.m. rolls around and you're stuck at the office, you won't be pulling your hair out over missing your workout.
Walking to work requires little more than a change of shoes and enough time. Figure about 15:00/mile, the ideal distance being two to five miles. Consider driving partway if you live far from the office.
Day shifters will beat peak temperatures by hours if they're to be at their desks on time, so this fitness plan can work even in hotter climes. Who knows? You may soon find yourself opting to jog so you can sleep longer.
(publications/brochures) for the ARA's 12-week run/walk program.
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|Publication:||Running & FitNews|
|Date:||May 1, 2003|
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