Extra weight cuts chances for long, healthy life by nearly 80%, study finds ,,
TUESDAY, Sept. 29 (HealthDay News) -- If excess weight doesn't kill you by old age, it could make your life miserable in the form of chronic health problems and impaired mental fitness.
According to a new study, women who are obese in middle age are almost 80 percent more likely to have multiple health problems by the time they reach age 70.
"Those who gained weight [in adulthood] actually suffered reduced odds of healthy survival," said study author Dr. Qi Sun, a research associate at the Harvard School of Public Health's department of nutrition.
"The key message is that women really need to keep a healthy weight from early adulthood to midlife to enjoy a healthy and long life," he added.
Sun added, however, that the women in the study had nonetheless survived to their eighth decade, meaning they remained healthier than the general population.
The study findings were published in the Sept. 30 online edition of the journal BMJ.
Previous research had focused on how excess weight affects survival, rather than how healthy that survival looks in older adults, said Sun.
The new study is well-timed, given that the U.S. population is not only aging rapidly but ballooning rapidly. Two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese, up from 14.5 percent in 1976, when this study started.
The study authors analyzed data on 17,065 women participating in the Nurses' Health Study. Volunteers were, on average, 50 years old when the study began with no major chronic conditions or major mental or physical problems.
Twenty years later, only about 10 percent of women had "healthy survival," and obese women were 79 percent less likely to have healthy survival than the slim minority.
Overweight as early as age 18 affected healthy survival the most, although women who were l
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