Study: Slow and steady weight gain could help you live longer

71 Million Americans Have Gained Weight During the Pandemic, Study Reveals. The study was conducted by biotech company Gelesis. 71% of Americans also confessed that their weight impacted their mental and emotional health. But as 2020 comes to an end, more Americans are determined to lose weight and continue healthy habits. While our survey has found Americans have been motivated to develop healthier habits amidst the pandemic, it has also brought to light how many Americans who want to lose weight continue to struggle, Elaine Chiquette, PharmD, Gelesis’ Chief Scientific Officer, via study. In a year when we’ve all already given up so much, our data shows that people would give up even more .., Elaine Chiquette, PharmD, Gelesis’ Chief Scientific Officer, via study. ... if it meant being able to lose weight by the end of the year and they remain hopeful about losing weight and feeling healthy in 2021, Elaine Chiquette, PharmD, Gelesis’ Chief Scientific Officer, via study. We have found that in 2021 the hopes of Americans outweigh their worries, and millions are ready to kick off the new year and make changes, including losing weight, Elaine Chiquette, PharmD, Gelesis’ Chief Scientific Officer, via study

While many people see weight gain as something to change, it turns out putting on some extra pounds could extend your life.

Results from a recent Ohio State University study indicate that people who begin adulthood with a normal-range body mass index and become overweight – but never obese – later in life, tend to live for the longest.

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This was even compared to people who maintained a normal BMI throughout their lives. Meanwhile, people who entered adulthood with obesity and gained more weight had the highest mortality rate, according to a news release from the university.

“The impact of weight gain on mortality is complex. It depends on both the timing and the magnitude of weight gain and where BMI started,” the study’s lead author and associate professor of sociology at Ohio State Hui Zheng said. “The main message is that for those who start at a normal weight in early adulthood, gaining a modest amount of weight throughout life and entering the overweight category in later adulthood can actually increase the probability of survival.”

Zheng’s study, which was published last month in the journal Annals of Epidemiology, used data from 4,576 people in the original cohort of the Framingham Heart Study, a 72-year heart disease study, and 3,753 of their children. The study began in 1948 and continued to track participants until 2010, while their children were followed from 1971 to 2014.

Researchers reviewed data from participants ages 31 to 80 in both generations. BMI was the main measure, which is used to determine whether a person is underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese.

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Scientists controlled for a range of factors found to impact morality, including smoking, disease, education, marital status and gender. Then, they calculated how each BMI trajectory — six for the younger generation and seven for the other one — was linked to mortality rates.

It was found that people who began at a normal weight and changed to being overweight later on were the most likely to survive in both generations.

Despite the same basic results, some concerns arose with the pattern established by the younger cohort.

“The higher BMI trajectories in the younger generation tend to shift upward at earlier ages relative to their parents,” Zheng said.

“Even though the mortality risks associated with obesity trajectories have decreased across the generations, their contributions to population deaths increased from 5.4% in the original cohort to 6.4% in the offspring cohort,” Zheng noted, as the proportions of those with a higher BMI systematically increased in the younger generation.

“That’s because more people are in the obesity trajectories in the offspring cohort,” he added.

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