Healthy Mid Life Weight Linked to Healthy Old Age

BOSTON, Oct. 5 (UPI) — U.S. researchers found women who maintain healthy weight in adulthood had the best odds of enjoying a healthy old age.

The large population study, published in the British Medical Journal, found women with the worst odds of healthy survival were those overweight at age 18 who gained more than 22 pounds between ages 18 and 50.

“Since body weight is a modifiable factor, the good news is that healthy aging is not purely the consequence of good genes or other factors that one cannot change,” study leader Qi Sun of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston said in a statement. “If women maintain a healthy weight as adults, they may increase their odds of enjoying a healthy life in their later years.”

The study was based on data from Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Nurses’ Health Study, begun in 1976. The study population included 17,065 female participants who had survived until at least age 70.

Of these, 1,686 women were termed healthy survivors — free of major chronic diseases and with good cognitive and physical functions. Of the remaining 15,379 women, 37 percent suffered both chronic diseases and cognitive, physical and mental health limitations.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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