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Intentional Weight Loss and All-Cause Mortality: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials April 11, 2015 10:30PM

Obesity is associated with increased mortality, and weight loss trials show rapid improvement in many mortality risk factors. Yet, observational studies typically associate weight loss with higher mortality risk. The purpose of this meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of weight loss was to clarify the effects of intentional weight loss on mortality.


In conclusion, this meta-analysis of 15 randomized controlled trials of weight loss in obese and overweight adults shows a 15% reduction in all-cause mortality in those randomized to weight loss. The magnitude of this benefit is on par with the reductions in all-cause mortality risk seen with treating hypertension or reducing total serum cholesterol by 1 mmol/L [45,46]. Most of the relevant literature in this area pertains to middle-aged adults. Given the increasing prevalence of obesity in older adults and its impact on physical function and chronic disease, additional evidence from well-conducted trials in older adults is needed to clarify the long-term safety of intentional weight loss in this population [47].

Read study in PLOS ONE.

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