- In a study of longevity and women’s health, scientists from the University of California San Diego (UCSD) looked at the advantages of maintaining a healthy weight for older women.
- The researchers studied the data of thousands of women in order to estimate the probability of reaching the age of 90, 95, or 100. This they described as “exceptional longevity.”
- Their analysis of data showed that women over 50 who maintain the same weight for a long time are 1.2 to two times more likely to attain the age of 90-100.
- While sustaining a steady weight helped to reach extraordinary longevity, Unintentional weight loss resulted in a reduction in the chance of achieving 90.
Women who are older and hoping to prolong their lives until the age of 90 or more should concentrate on maintaining a healthy weight.
A recent study conducted by a number of institutions revealed that women over 60 who had a steady weight gain after the age of sixty were more likely to reach the age of 90.
The study included 54,437 women who were part of women who were part of the Women’s Health Initiative. The researchers examined the short- and long-term changes in weight among women and compared it with the time they reached.
Researchers found that women who had experienced unintentional weight loss were 51% less likely to have a chance of reaching the age of 90.
While weight loss is often linked to a decrease in longevity, a weight increase of more than 5% was not a factor in exceptional longevity, which suggests the importance of keeping an appropriate weight.
It was reported in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.
Weight loss in comparison to. Weight gain against. steady weight
This study sought to determine any possible connections between weight changes (intentional or non-intentional) and longevity that are exceptional in women over 50.
The authors acknowledged that prior studies had examined the consequences of weight loss from early to middle age, like the shift from being overweight to becoming overweight; however, these studies had not looked into how the loss of weight was deliberate.
The UCSD study involved more than five thousand women who were postmenopausal women who took part in the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study that began in the year 1991. The study concentrated on the health issues of postmenopausal women. These included cardiovascular disease and cancer.
The authors chose to collect information from women between the ages of 61 and 81 at the time of enrolment for the research. Women provided details regarding the weight they weighed, their medical issues, drinking habits, alcohol consumption, and smoking conditions.
The researchers examined the weight fluctuations from the time of enrollment and then when they reached the three and 10-year dates. They classified the women into three categories:
- Weight that is stable (less than 5% difference from the starting weight)
- Loss of weight (more than 5 percent reduction from the starting weight)
- Weight increase (more than 5 percent from weight starting)
The authors classified females into “intentional weight loss” or “unintentional weight loss groups” during the weigh-in at three years according to the extent to which they had reported losing over 5 pounds.
Losing weight unintentionally can hurt chances of achieving 90
After excluding women who died during the initial year following the three-year weigh-in (to keep in mind any health issues altering the results), Researchers found that 56.3 percent of women who had the same weight for a long time lived to be at least 90 years old. Older.
Women who had an accidental weight loss by 5% or more had a lower chance to live to at least 90.
According to the authors, women who lost weight (for whatever reason) greater than 5 percent at the 3-year exam were 33% less likely to get to 90. 35% less chance of reaching 95 and 38% less chance of getting to 100.
They also examined how much weight gain was deliberate or not, and women who were trying to shed weight lost 17% of their chances of reaching 90. One of the reasons to deliberately lose weight was diet modifications and a boost in exercise.
The women who didn’t lose weight for a reason were less likely by 51% to achieve 90. The most common causes reported by women as a reason for not consciously losing weight are stress and illness.
On the other hand, a weight gain greater than 5 percent at the 3-year weigh-in did not indicate higher odds of survival.
“It is quite common for women over 50 to be in the United States to experience [being overweight or suffering from the condition of obesityas well as having an weight index that ranges from 25 to 35. Our results support a steady weight as a way to improve longevity among older women,” declares Professor Aladdin. Shadyab, who is the study’s principal author and professor at UCSD’s School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science.
“If aging women find themselves losing weight when they are not trying to lose weight, this could be a warning sign of ill health and a predictor of decreased longevity.”
Why weight management is crucial
Dr. Jessica Lee, associate professor of geriatrics at the McGovern Medical School in UTHealth Houston, spoke with Medical News Today about the study.
“Over the years, there have been some questions as to whether weight changes have more or less benefit with regards to longevity,” she explained.
“The results of this study indicate that in older women, survival to exceptional longevity is more likely in those who maintain their weight (<5% from baseline) rather than gain or lose weight,” she wrote.
Dr. Lee noted that the study could influence the advice doctors offer to patients who are in a clinic setting.
“This could change the recommendations to lose weight in adult women. Instead of focusing upon weight reduction or growth after 60 years of age the focus will be important to concentrate on maintaining weight for people who are healthy.”
Katie Lounsberry, a registered dietitian at Providence Mission Hospital located in Mission Viejo, CA, also spoke to MNT about the study. She expressed her satisfaction with what was the scope of the group that the researchers studied.
“This appears to be the first large-scale study to examine the connection between changes in weight later in life and remarkable longevity. The previous research was limited because of the small numbers and a lack of follow-up after the participants age,” she said.
Although Dr. Lee found the study beneficial, she noted one potential flaw. The results may not be appropriate for everyone.
“Observational studies are great for studying groups in general, however they aren’t always applicable to individuals. For instance, a woman with morbid obesitymight still be able to be able to benefit from weight loss in order to treat other ailments like heart disease or diabetes, which have a an increased risk of death,” she said.
Lounsberry has also stressed how important it is to consider each person into consideration when it comes to managing weight.
“Given the abundance of past research regarding the benefits of weight loss for certain disease states and health outcomes, it’s important to assess overall health goals on an individual basis when forming weight goals,” she added.