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Mid life obesity can affect health in later life

A new study has shown that being overweight in mid life affects how healthy women are when they are older. Researchers from Boston in the US claim that being overweight is associated with a 79 per cent decrease in the probability of maintaining the best possible health among those who survive to the age of 70 or older.

The study's findings

The study found that for every 1kg of weight gained since the age of 18, there is a 5 per cent decrease in the likelihood of having a healthy lifestyle that is free from major chronic conditions such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes. This is compared with women who were lean in mid life.

One of few studies

“Surprisingly, there appear to have been few previous studies looking at links between obesity in middle aged-women and having good health in old age," said Dr Iain Frame, Director of Research at Diabetes UK.

"This may be because the term 'healthy survivor' is subjective, which also makes the interpretation of the results presented here difficult.

Important to maintain healthy weight from early adulthood

“However, the overarching message - that it is important to maintain a healthy weight from early adulthood to enjoy a healthy life in older age - is a good one. Whether or not this particular piece of research provides the evidence for that argument is debatable.

Obesity one of main risk factors for Type 2 diabetes

“Obesity is one of the main risk factors for Type 2 diabetes and we know that 80 per cent of people with the condition are overweight at the time of diagnosis. Diabetes UK recommends that the best way to manage weight is by eating a healthy, balanced diet and doing at least 30 minutes of physical activity at least five days per week.”

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