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Even temporary weight loss in adulthood can benefit the heart

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With summer around the corner, you may be worrying about whether you’re ready to strut your stuff in the warm weather. Are you happy with your tan? Do you need a new hairdo? Have you sufficiently sculpted your muscles with exercise. Will you have to buy a new wardrobe? Have you shed any excess pounds?

When it comes to weight loss, it’s important to remember that it’s not just about looks. When combined with other positive lifestyle choices, such as a healthy diet and a fish oil supplement regimen, losing the extra pounds can really do wonders for your ticker. Now, research from University College London in the U.K. suggests that even temporary weight loss during adulthood will have long-term benefits.

Why is being obese unhealthy?
In 2010, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that more than 72 million adults in the U.S. were obese, or had a Body Mass Index of at least 30. The problem with obesity is that it increases the risk of several chronic conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke and some forms of cancer. Overall, being obese increases an individual’s health care bills by an average of $1,429, when compared to someone who is not obese.

To understand the impact of weight loss, the authors of the new study, which was published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, reviewed data that was collected from nearly 1,300 men and women. These research subjects allowed scientists to follow them for more than 60 years, starting in 1946. During this time, the researchers monitored their weight and related it back to their heart health.

“Our study is unique because it followed individuals for such a long time, more than 60 years, and allowed us to assess the effect of modest, real-life changes in adiposity,” lead study author John Deanfield said in a statement. “Our findings suggest that losing weight at any age can result in long-term cardiovascular health benefits, and support public health strategies and lifestyle modifications that help individuals who are overweight or obese to lose weight at all ages.”

Even if subjects regained some of their weight, their hearts still benefited from the initial weight loss.

Of course, weight loss should only be considered part of a larger heart-healthy lifestyle. If you want to give your ticker a boost, eat a healthy diet, learn about omega-3 benefits and give up smoking and other bad habits you may have.