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Weight Loss and Mortality

Lewis Kuller, MD, DrPH; and Rena Wing, PhD
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University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health, Pittsburgh, PA 15261. University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15213. Requests for Reprints: Lewis H. Kuller, MD, DrPH, Department of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health, 130 DeSoto Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15261.

Copyright 2004 by the American College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1993;119(7_Part_1):630-632. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-119-7_Part_1-199310010-00015
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Weight cycling, that is, gaining and losing weight over time, has been linked to excess mortality. The studies reported in the supplement to this issue further evaluated the relation among weight loss, weight cycling, and health. The mortality rate was higher among persons who either lost weight or had weight cycling. The reasons for the weight loss or weight cycling were not determined. The association across varying levels of body mass index (BMI) and the findings that the negative effects of weight cycling are greatest in persons with the lowest BMIs suggest that the weight loss was not all voluntary. Attempts were made to adjust for comorbidity and cigarette smoking. The probability is strong that clinical or subclinical disease, other lifestyle changes, or psychosocial factors such as depression accounted for weight loss, weight cycling, and the increased mortality rate.

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