Just when we thought we couldn’t get any fatter, a new study that followed Americans for three decades suggests that over the long haul, 9 out of 10 men and 7 out of 10 women will become overweight.
Even if you are one of the lucky few who made it to middle age without getting fat, don’t congratulate yourself — keep watching that waistline.
Half of the men and women in the study who had made it well into adulthood without a weight problem ultimately became overweight. A third of those women and a quarter of the men became obese.
“You cannot become complacent, because you are at risk of becoming overweight,” said Ramachandran Vasan, an associate professor of medicine at Boston University and the study’s lead author.
He and other researchers studied data gathered from 4,000 white adults over 30 years. Participants were between the ages of 30 and 59 at the start, and were examined every four years. By the end of the study, more than 1 in 3 had become obese.
The study defined obesity as a body mass index, which is a commonly used height and weight comparison, of more than 30.
The findings, published Tuesday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, show obesity may be a greater problem than indicated by studies that look at a cross-section of the population at one point in time. Those so-called “snapshots” of obesity have found about 6 in 10 are overweight and about 1 in 3 are obese, Vasan said.
The findings also re-emphasize that people must continually watch their weight, Vasan said.
The research subjects were the children of participants in the long-running and often-cited Framingham Heart Study, which has been following the health of generations of Massachusetts residents.
Dr. Elizabeth G. Nabel, director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, which supported the study, said the findings show “we could have an even more serious degree of overweight and obesity over the next few decades.”
Susan Bartlett, an assistant professor of medicine and an obesity researcher at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, said the study was one of the first to look at the risk of becoming overweight.
“The results are pretty sobering, really,” said Bartlett, who was not involved in the research.
While the health risks of being obese are much more severe than being overweight, those who are overweight are much more likely to go on to become obese, Bartlett said.
The study shows Americans live in an “environment in which it’s hard not to become overweight or obese. Unless people actively work against that, that’s what’s most likely to happen to them.”
I’ve often run across people that eat whatever they want, whenever they want and as much as they want without gaining an ounce. These people depress me, I must be honest. But on the other hand I’ve also met a lot of people that will say things such as, “When I was younger I ate whatever I wanted and never gained weight, but now that I’m older I can’t do that or I gain weight!” The moral of the story is this: You have to eat healthy and exercise to be healthy or one day it will catch up with you, but as we all know that is easier said than done, said the publisher at ‘Weightalogue’.
Losing weight without exercise is possible but the outcome may differ from that of losing weight with exercise.