Edward W. Gregg, PhD; Robert B. Gerzoff, MS; Theodore J. Thompson, MS; David F. Williamson, PhD
Gregg EW, Gerzoff RB, Thompson TJ, Williamson DF. Intentional Weight Loss and Death in Overweight and Obese U.S. Adults 35 Years of Age and Older. Ann Intern Med. 2003;138:383-389. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-138-5-200303040-00007
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2003;138(5):383-389.
Although being overweight is associated with many adverse health outcomes, observational studies of weight loss show associations between weight loss and increased mortality. This may be because these studies did not distinguish between intentional and unintentional weight loss.
In a national survey of 6391 U.S. adults, people who were trying to lose weight had decreased mortality whether they lost weight or not. Lowest mortality was associated with modest intentional weight loss. People who lost weight unintentionally had increased mortality.
Weight loss has adverse associations with mortality only if it is unintentional. Trying to lose weight may have benefit even if people do not actually lose weight.
All data were derived from Cox proportional-hazards models controlled for age, sex, ethnicity, smoking, education, initial body mass index, self-rated health, diabetes, acute and chronic conditions, functional limitations due to cardiovascular disease or cancer, hospital days, and bed days. Values in parentheses are 95% CIs.
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