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Keep your weight stable if you want to reach great old age

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What to live to a hundred?  Then keep your weight stable, and that’s especially true if you’re a woman.

Women who lose at least 5 percent of their body weight are less likely to reach great old age than those who maintain their body weight.  Those who do lose weight are 51 percent less likely to reach the age of 90—and the same is true for those who gain weight, say researchers from the University of California at San Diego.

The tipping point seems to be around the age of 60.  Gain or lose weight after then and you’ll affect your chances of reaching great old age, usually defined as any age beyond 90.  

Those who maintain a stable weight after they’re 60 double their chances of still being alive in their nineties.

The researchers reviewed data from 54,337 women, and 30,647 of them—58 percent of the participants—had survived to the age of 90 and beyond.

Gaining weight is one thing, and it’s fairly typical for older women to put on the pounds.  But unintentionally losing weight could be a sign of an underlying health problem, and it could be this, rather than the weight loss per se, that affects longevity, the researchers say.

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Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences Series A, 2023; doi: 10.1093/Gerona/glad177
Article Topics: longevity, Weight
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