The health benefits of long lasting weight loss

As everyone knows, obesity, a condition that is characterized by an excessive accumulation of body fat, represents one of the main problems of the century for human health: weighing a few kilograms too much, not only makes us appear less attractive or makes us feel and physically and mentally in poor shape; but it also represents a high risk factor for many diseases.

long lasting weight loss

  • In most cases, it is caused by an improper lifestyle (unbalanced nutrition, high calorie diet, physical inactivity) and is to a large extent predictable. In many cases, it is even negotiable.
  • It is estimated that 44% of cases of type 2 diabetes, 23% of cases of ischemic heart disease, up to 41% in the case of some tumors 1 are attributable to obesity.
  • With these premises, I remember that the magnitude that is used worldwide to define the conditions of overweight and obesity is the body mass index – BMI – (also known as Body Mass Index – BMI). I also remember that people with BMI of 30 or higher are classified as obese, while those with BMI between 25 and 29.99 (or higher, of course) are defined as overweight.
  • Adults: according to WHO data, the World Health Organization, 35% of the world population is overweight, while in Italy, according to data collected in 2010 by the Passi Surveillance System, 32% of adults are overweight , and even obese is 11%.

Children: an analysis by the Ministry of Health of 2010, shows that 22.9% of Italian children aged between 8 and 9 years are overweight and that 11.1% are even in conditions of obesity2 ).

To help people who need to lose weight and, consequently, to help them improve the overall quality of their life, different strategies can be applied, depending on the specific circumstances: behavioral interventions, pharmacological treatments, but also surgical interventions. However, it should be noted that many of the improvements due to weight loss vanish as soon as you return to your initial weight.

 

THE POSSIBLE EFFECTS OF A LAST WEIGHT LOSS

An article recently appeared in the Annual Review of Nutrition magazine that offers an interesting overview of the benefits that a protracted (over time) weight loss can have on health. The article refers to a study by a group of researchers from the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry of the University of Alberta (Canada) led by dr. Rueda Clausen, born with the aim of establishing what are the benefits and what are the disadvantages on health that leads to long lasting weight loss.

HomeBalancesThe health benefits of lasting weight loss

weight loss benefits The health benefits of long lasting weight loss Roberto M. Scales, Diets, Supplements, Health
As everyone knows, obesity, a condition that is characterized by an excessive accumulation of body fat, represents one of the main problems of the century for human health: weighing a few kilograms too much, not only makes us appear less attractive or makes us feel and physically and mentally in poor shape; but it also represents a high risk factor for many diseases.

In most cases, it is caused by an improper lifestyle (unbalanced nutrition, high calorie diet, physical inactivity) and is to a large extent predictable. In many cases, it is even negotiable.

It is estimated that 44% of cases of type 2 diabetes, 23% of cases of ischemic heart disease, up to 41% in the case of some tumors 1 are attributable to obesity.

With these premises, I remember that the magnitude that is used worldwide to define the conditions of overweight and obesity is the body mass index – BMI – (also known as Body Mass Index – BMI). I also remember that people with BMI of 30 or higher are classified as obese, while those with BMI between 25 and 29.99 (or higher, of course) are defined as overweight.

Adults: according to WHO data, the World Health Organization, 35% of the world population is overweight, while in Italy, according to data collected in 2010 by the Passi Surveillance System, 32% of adults are overweight , and even obese is 11%.

Children: an analysis by the Ministry of Health of 2010, shows that 22.9% of Italian children aged between 8 and 9 years are overweight and that 11.1% are even in conditions of obesity2 ).

To help people who need to lose weight and, consequently, to help them improve the overall quality of their life, different strategies can be applied, depending on the specific circumstances: behavioral interventions, pharmacological treatments, but also surgical interventions. However, it should be noted that many of the improvements due to weight loss vanish as soon as you return to your initial weight.

THE POSSIBLE EFFECTS OF A LAST WEIGHT LOSS

An article recently appeared in the Annual Review of Nutrition magazine that offers an interesting overview of the benefits that a protracted (over time) weight loss can have on health. The article refers to a study by a group of researchers from the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry of the University of Alberta (Canada) led by dr. Rueda Clausen, born with the aim of establishing what are the benefits and what are the disadvantages on health that leads to lasting weight loss.

WHAT DO WE MEAN BY LONG WEIGHT LOSS

benefits of weight loss

Before exposing the results of this analysis, it is necessary to clarify what we are referring to when it comes to lasting weight loss. Even if there is no univocal definition, accepted by all, the study defines Long lasting weight loss that situation in which the subject,

it loses at least 10% of its initial weight;
maintains this condition for at least a year.
The choice to consider the percentage of 10% of weight loss as a reference value is due to previous studies on the matter which demonstrated the existence of health benefits consequent to a reduction of 10% or more of body weight3) 4)

WHY IT IS DIFFICULT TO FIND THE BENEFITS OF WEIGHT LOSS WITH PRECISION

Body weight loss can be achieved in several ways:

  • adopting an adequate diet (changing the diet);
  • increasing physical activity;
  • reducing only the calorie intake.

All three methods normally lead to weight reduction. Even regardless of determining weight loss, these behaviors are still good for your health.

BENEFICIAL HEALTH EFFECTS ARISING FROM A LONG-TERM WEIGHT LOSS

According to the authors of the above study, the areas of our body and the pathologies that are most affected, in positive terms, by weight loss concern:

  • Blood pressure – A weight loss can reduce blood pressure;
  • Heart – Losing weight, reduces the risk of heart disease;
  • Type 2 diabetes – In people suffering from insulin resistance, weight loss reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes or, if already present, slows its course;
  • Glycemic control – Weight loss allows a better glycemic control for everyone and, in particular, for people with type 2 diabetes;
  • Blood lipid profile – Weight loss is normally accompanied by a decrease in triglycerides and an increase in HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol);
  • Osteoarthritis – In people suffering from arthrosis, weight loss may be accompanied by a reduction in its symptoms;
  • Obstructive sleep apnea – Weight loss is rarely able to solve the problem of sleep apnea, but generally helps to reduce it;
  • Hyperventilation Syndrome – Substantial weight loss can reduce the symptoms associated with hyperventilation syndrome;
  • Asthma – Weight loss is often accompanied by a reduction in asthma symptoms;
  • Cancer – It seems that protracted weight loss also leads to a reduction in the risk of cancer;
  • Quality of life – Following weight loss, there is a general increase in well-being;
  • Mortality – The study hypothesizes that weight loss may also be related to a reduction in their risk of mortality in young and middle-aged people.

HEALTH BENEFIT EFFECTS ARISING FROM A SHORT-TERM WEIGHT LOSS

Even short-term weight loss has undoubted beneficial effects on human health. Its positive effects are, however, limited to the period in which the least weight achieved is maintained.

In general, however, as soon as you return to the initial one, the benefits seem to disappear: however, some studies 5) seem to prove the existence of long-term benefits even in the presence of short-term weight loss.

This phenomenon is known as “metabolic memory”: the behavior of the cells of our body would however be positively conditioned by the “memorization” of the positive state reached when the body weighed less.

RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH WEIGHT LOSS IN OBESE PEOPLE.

When we talk about the benefits, of a treatment, of a drug, but also of a therapy aimed at losing weight, we must never forget also the possible existence of some disadvantages.

These disadvantages depend to a large extent on the particular situation of the person himself, although it must be specified, the benefits obtained are usually far superior to the risks that follow.

As already mentioned, the therapies usually used to lose body weight can be divided into three macro categories:

  • Behavioral therapies – These are the therapies that act on eating habits, diet and physical activity;
  • Pharmacological therapies – These are the therapies that use drugs and food supplements;
  • Surgical therapies – These also include liposuction therapies.

Behavioral therapies are, in general, those that involve lesser risks. Pharmacological and surgical ones, especially if implemented in order to obtain drastic results in a short time, have greater risks (remember, incidentally, that in these cases the subjects most at risk, seem to be those with fatty liver or with gallbladder inflammation)

CONCLUSIONS

A deliberately lasting weight loss has undoubted health benefits for people suffering from obesity problems. However, it is difficult to isolate the effects that only weight loss has on health. In fact, even regardless of the “balance”, the lifestyle that those who want to lose weight adopt, has 360 ° positive effects on our entire organism.

Even in those cases where weight loss could worsen some people’s pre-existing liver gallbladder problems, its benefits are often far greater than the risks that accompany it.

In conclusion, weight loss should never be an option for obese people, but a voluntary and decisive choice to be taken as soon as possible.

And finally, as always in these cases, before starting any treatment it is always advisable to contact the family doctor who, if necessary, will also be able to direct you to specialists who are able to follow you through personalized therapy, in your best path.