X-Message-Number: 12276
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 1999 23:28:06 -0700 (PDT)
From: Doug Skrecky <>
Subject: voluntary and involuntary weight loss

  Yaari S.  Goldbourt U.
  Computing Center, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel.
  Voluntary and involuntary
  weight loss: associations with long term
  mortality in 9,228 middle-aged and elderly men.
  American Journal of Epidemiology.  148(6):546-55, 1998 Sep 15.
  Recent studies have suggested that weight
  loss in middle-aged persons antecedes increased mortality.
  Therefore, the authors sought to examine the association between changes in
  body weight and subsequent mortality, according to
  self-reported dieting status. The authors followed 9,228 men aged 40-65 years
  in 1963, for whom weight changes between 1963 and 1968 were
  recorded and extensive clinical, anthropometric, biochemical, and dietary
  assessments were made. Of these men, 2,471 reported being on a diet when
  first examined in 1963, and 636 were dieting primarily to lose
  weight. Mortality follow-up covered an 18-year period
  (1968-1986). Men who lost 5 kg or more between 1963 and 1968 ("extreme
  weight losers") exhibited the following age-pooled risks of
  mortality relative to the stable weight group: for total
  mortality, 1.36 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.20-1.55); for all
  cardiovascular disease mortality, 1.40 (95% CI 1.16-1.69); for all
  non-cardiovascular disease mortality, 1.33 (95% CI 1.11-1.59); for coronary
  heart disease mortality, 1.55 (95% CI 1.25-1.93); and for cancer mortality,
  0.90 (95% CI 0.65-1.24). After adjustment for differences in coronary heart
  disease risk factor levels and morbidity between these groups at the end of
  the weight change period (1968), the excess risks associated
  with extreme weight loss declined by
  approximately one third. They declined further if adjustment was made for
  1963 (pre-weight-change period) morbidity and risk factor
  levels. Being on a slimming diet, as reported in 1963, was associated with an
  approximate doubling of excess mortality in men with extreme
  weight loss. Weight
  loss in 1963-1968 coincided with an increased incidence of
  coronary heart disease and diabetes mellitus and a declining level of serum
  total cholesterol. This and other studies indicate that both
  voluntary and involuntary
  weight loss might be associated with a
  small increase in the risk of all-cause mortality.

  Additional note by poster:

     These are typical results from the medical literature. Exercise
  typically reduces mortality, but dieting usually either increases it
  or has little effect.
     If you want to lose weight, as well as your increase life expectancy,
  it would be wise to do so by increasing exercising, before looking at
  any diet.

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