Friday, May 23, 2014

Even Temporary Weight Loss Can Have Heart Benefits

Image of human heart 

Adults who lose weight may be able to reap long-term cardiovascular health benefits, even if they gain the weight back, according to a new study.

In the study, researchers found that the less time adults carried around extra body fat, the less likely they were to experience cardiovascular health-related issues, such as high blood pressure or an increased risk of diabetes later in life.

The results also showed that losing a significant amount of weight — for example, going from being obese to overweight, or from being overweight to normal weight — at any point in adulthood may reduce cardiovascular health risks, even if a person regains the weight. 

In the study, the researchers followed 1,273 British men and women for up to 64 years. The data came from the U.K. Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development (NSHD). At several points in the participants' lives — including childhood and ages 36, 43, 53 and 60 to 64 — the researchers classified the people as normal weight, overweight or obese. During the course of the study, the researchers also examined the participants' blood pressure, took blood samples from them and asked them if they smoked.

"Our study is unique because it followed individuals for such a long time — more than 60 years — and allowed us to assess the effect of modest, real-life changes" in body fat, study author John Deanfield, of University College London in the United Kingdom, said in a statement. 

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