A new study found that reaching age 90, 95 or 100, known for exceptional longevity, was more likely for women who maintained their body weight after age 60.
According to the multi-institutional study, led by the University of California San Diego, older women who maintained a stable weight were 1.2 to 2 times more likely to achieve longevity compared to those experiencing weight loss of 5% or more.
In a report published in the journal Gerontology: Medical Sciences, researchers investigated the association of weight changes in later life with exceptional longevity among 54,437 women enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative, a prospective study looking at the causes of chronic disease and disease in postmenopausal women.
Throughout follow-up, 30,647, or 56% of the participants, survived to age 90 or older.
Women who lost at least 5 percent of their weight were less likely to achieve longevity than those who achieved a stable weight.
For example, women who lost weight unintentionally were 51% less likely to survive to age 90. However, weight gain of 5% or more, compared to constant weight, was not associated with exceptional longevity.
“It is very common for older women in the United States to be overweight or obese with a BMI range of 25,” said first author Aladdin Shadyab, associate professor in the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Sciences at UC San Diego. to 35. Our findings support a stable weight as a goal for longevity in older women. If older women find themselves losing weight when they are not trying to lose weight, this could be a warning sign of ill health and a sign of decreased longevity.”
The findings suggest that general recommendations for weight loss in older women may not help them live a longer life. However, the researchers caution that women should heed medical advice if moderate weight loss is recommended to improve their health or quality of life.