Overweight and fat people

Overweight people who diet to reach a healthier weight are more likely to die young than those who remain fat, according to a study. The finding needs to be backed up by further research before sweeping changes are made to public health strategies, the authors warn, but it highlights how poorly the long-term health effects of dieting are understood.

It is well proven that losing weight reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes among the obese, but the new study suggests that dieting also causes physiological that in the long term can outweigh the benefits.

The authors stressed that very overweight people and those with weight –related illnesses should not be deterred from dieting, but added that researchers should not be deterred from dieting, but added that researchers should in future consider the short-term advantages of weight loss against the potential long-term risks.
“We need to study the effects of weight loss on the body much better than we have done so far”, said the study’s lead researcher, Thorkild Sorensen, of the Institute of Preventive Medicine at Copenhagen University hospital. The study, which was carried out in Finland, followed 2.957 overweight or obese people who had been screened to ensure they had no underlying illnesses.

Overweight people have body mass indexes (BMIs) greater than 25, while obese people have BMIs greater than 30. Each participant was questioned about their desire to lose weight in 1975 and again in 1981. Records of their weight and general health were kept for the next 18 years, during which 268 of the participants died. Analysis of the data showed that those who wanted to lose weight and succeeded were significantly more likely to die young than those who stayed fat. “Healthy overweight or obese subjects who try to lose weight and succeed in doing so over a six-year period suffer from almost double the risk of dying during the next 18 years compared with subjects who do not try to lose weight and whose weight remains stable”, said Dr Sorensen.

by Ian Sample, The Guardian, 2005


1. According to the text, scientists maintain that
A. long-term dieting helps people stay healthy throughout their lives
B. the effects of long-term dieting are not understood sufficiently well.
C. long-term dieting causes heart disease and diabetes.
D. long-term dieting entitles people to governmental health benefits.

2. The text claims that researchers should
A. compel everyone to go on a diet.
B. forbid people to diet.
C. carefully analyse the benefits and potential damages of weight loss.
D. none of the above

3. The text makes a distinction between
A. people losing weight before and after 1975.
B. overweight and obese subjects.
C. massive weight loss and mammoth weight gain.
D. individuals under and over 25.

4. According to Dr Sorensen, subjects, whose weight remains stable over the years,
A. are likely to die young.
B. should be subjected to a very strict diet.
C. are not likely to die young, provided they are generally healthy.
D. will never lose any weight.

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