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Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1997 Mar;21 Suppl 1:S14-9; discussion S20-1.

Intentional weight loss: patterns in the general population and its association with morbidity and mortality.

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  • 1Division of Diabetes Translation (K-10), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30341-3724, USA.


The question of whether intentional weight loss increases the longevity of obese individuals is important, given the high prevalence of obesity and co-morbidities in industrialized countries, and the high prevalence of intentional weight loss in such populations. A number of studies suggest that both weight loss and weight fluctuation are associated with increased mortality. Factors such as smoking status and pre-existing illness, however, have to be considered in relation to these findings. A study controlled for smoking status and pre-existing illness, found that intentional weight loss by overweight, white, US women, consistently reduced mortality in those with obesity related co-morbidities. An Indian study, involving individuals with previous myocardial infarction, found that dietary intervention reduced mortality substantially. Those losing > 5 kg had the greatest reduction in both total and cardiovascular mortality. In both the above studies, weight loss was approximately 10% of initial body weight. Preliminary evidence suggests that modest intentional weight loss is associated with increased longevity in individuals with co-morbidities.

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