Just Trying To Diet Reduces Mortality

Research suggests that simply attempting to lose weight, even if that attempt is unsuccessful, lowers mortality rates substantially. Over 6,000 subjects, all at least 35 years of age, were asked to fill out a survey in 1989 regarding their intentions to lose weight. The results are fascinating:

It was found that people who lost weight intentionally had 24 percent drop in mortality, compared with subjects not trying to lose weight and reporting no weight change.

For those who lost between two and 20 pounds, the mortality rate dropped even more, by 30 percent.

Mortality rates were lower in people who reported trying to lose weight than in those not trying to lose weight, independent of their actual weight loss.

The story from the survey was very different, however, for people who lost weight unintentionally. Their mortality rate was 31 percent higher.

Adapted from Senior Fitness, by Ruth E. Heidrich, Ph.D. (Lantern Books, 2005). Copyright (c) 2005 by Ruth Heidrich. Reprinted by permission of Lantern Books.
Adapted from Senior Fitness, by Ruth E. Heidrich, Ph.D. (Lantern Books, 2005).


Val M.
Val M4 years ago


Joanne S.
Jo S4 years ago

Thanks, Annie, very interesting read.

Lynda H.
Lynda Sick5 years ago

A study in 2005 of around 3000 Finns over an 18-year period showed that weight loss from dieting can result in INCREASED mortality, while those who maintained their weight fared the best. Similar Although other studies suggest that intentional weight loss has a small benefit for individuals classified as unhealthy, they have repeatedly confirmed an increased mortality for healthy individuals and the slightly overweight but not obese. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dieting

A study released in 2010 of 6117 adults aged over 50 showed that weight loss of 15% or more was associated with an increased risk of death from all causes among overweight men and among overweight and obese women. http://scienceblogs.com/obesitypanacea/2010/03/15/is-weight-loss-associated-with/

Of course “unintentional” weight loss is going to have a higher mortality risk: it’s a sign that there is illness or disease. Sheesh. But numerous scientific studies show “intentional” weight loss increases mortality risk.

Losing weight is a mug’s game. Just focus on being healthy and as fit as possible, and whether you lose weight or not, you will reduce your risk of premature death significantly.

Shanti S.
S S5 years ago

Thank you.

Deanna C.
Deanna C5 years ago

Good to know

Ve G.
Valentina G5 years ago


Heidi Aubrey
Heidi Aubrey5 years ago

Almost everyone I know is "trying" to lose weight pretty much, in perpetudity.

Tanya W.
Tanya W5 years ago


Elena T.
Elena Poensgen5 years ago

Thank you :)

Terry V.
Terry V5 years ago