Diet-NutritionElderlyHigh Blood PressureObesity

Does losing weight reduce your risk of early death?

Despite the reported benefits, weight loss isn’t always advised for older adults because some studies have associated weight loss with increased mortality.

Researchers from North Carolina and Maryland, put this belief to the test.

First, the details.

  • 585 overweight or obese older adults treated for hypertension were studied.
  • The effect of dietary weight loss, sodium restriction, or both on blood pressure control were determined.
  • Death due to any cause was ascertained by using the Social Security Index and National Death Index through 2006.

And, the results.

  • The mortality rate of those randomly assigned to the weight-loss program didn’t differ significantly from those not randomly assigned to this group.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Intentional dietary weight loss was not significantly associated with increased all-cause mortality over 12 years of follow-up in older overweight or obese adults.”

In another study of mortality associated with underweight, normal weight, overweight, and obesity, researchers at The University of Western Australia, in Perth, agreed, “Overweight older people are not at greater mortality risk than those who are normal weight.”

However, they also found, “Being sedentary was associated with a greater risk of mortality in women than in men.”

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a lion or a gazelle, when the sun comes up you better being moving.

8/21/11 20:42 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.