It's never too late to lose weight, is the message from scientists today, following a study that suggests current weight is the most important indicator of heart health and diabetes risk.
Researchers at the City University of New York's School of Public Health found that no matter how long a person may have been obese for in the past, it is their weight in the here and now that influences their risk of heart problems and diabetes.
Those who were obese in their mid-20s, however, were more likely to struggle with their weight later in life, with men who were overweight at the age of 25 found to have a 23.1 per cent probability of being morbidly obese after they hit 35. By contrast, those who were of normal weight at 25 risked only a 1.1 per cent chance of morbid obesity in their 30s.
The same was true for women, and to an even greater degree, with the likelihood of severe obesity at 46.9 per cent for those who were heavily overweight at 25, compared to 4.8 per cent for women of a normal weight in their 20s.
The research is good news for those who are committed to improving their health though, as it goes some way to prove that shifting excess pounds is of benefit at any stage of life.
Dr Jennifer Dowd, whose study was published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, said: "This study adds to growing evidence that in terms of traditional cardiovascular, inflammatory, and metabolic risk, obesity duration confers little additional risk beyond the current level of attained weight.
"The bad news, in turn, is that maintaining a stable level of obesity from a young age is not the norm, and being obese at age 25 years places individuals at risk of a much more severe level of obesity later in life compared to those who are normal weight at age 25 years."
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