A Slim Chance: Most Obese People Likely to Stay that Way

IANS  |  Updated: July 19, 2017 11:25 IST

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A Slim Chance: Most Obese People Likely to Stay that Way
Health experts have often given us a string of reasons why we should keep obesity at bay. It can cause diabetes, heart trouble, high blood pressure and all. But if even these aren't enough for you to stay in shape, here's another one that may come as a bit of a shocker. According to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, the chances of an obese person attaining normal weight are exceptionally low. "Once an adult becomes obese, it is very unlikely that they will return to a healthy body weight," said study's first author Alison Fildes from the University College London.

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Researchers tracked the weight of 278,982 participants (129,194 men and 149,788) women with the help of health records, over a period of 10 years. They looked at the probability of obese patients attaining normal weight or a five percent reduction in body weight. Patients who received bariatric surgery were excluded from the study.

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The study found that the chance of an obese person attaining normal body weight is one in 210 for men and one in 124 for women. And in the case of those that are severely obese, it increases to one in 1,290 for men and one in 677 for women with severe obesity.

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The annual chance of obese patients achieving five percent weight loss was one in 12 for men and one in 10 for women. For those people who achieved five percent weight loss, 53 percent regained this weight within two years and 78 percent had regained the weight within five years. Overall, only 1,283 men and 2,245 women with a body mass index (BMI) of 30-35 reached their normal body weight, equivalent to an annual probability of one in 210 for men and one in 124 for women.

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Weight cycling, with both increases and decreases in body weight, was also observed in more than a third of patients. "This evidence suggests the current system is not working for the vast majority of obese patients," Fildes said.



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