Healthy living * Weight loss

Diets unlikely to make fat people slim

Diets unlikely to make fat people slim Weight gain in women "accelerates in mid-30s"

Once you are fat it is unlikely you will ever return to your former size, no matter how hard you diet.

Scientists have confirmed what most dieters already suspect; most people who lose weight end up putting it back on again, according to a long-term study of 25,000 men and women living in the UK.

The scientists, from the Medical Research Council's National Survey of Health and Development, tracked 5,362 adults who were born in 1946, and 20,000 born in 1958, assessing their weight, blood pressure and lifestyles.

While around 12 million Britons go on diets of one kind or another every year, only around 10 per cent lose a significant amount of weight, and most regain it within a year.

Dr Rebecca Hardy told the Sunday Times: "Both groups began increasing in weight in the 1980s and since then people have been increasing in mass all through life.

"For men it goes steadily through life. For women it starts slowly and accelerates in the mid-thirties. Once people become overweight they continue relentlessly upwards. They hardly ever go back down.

"A few lose weight but very few get back to normal. The best policy is to prevent people becoming overweight."

However, the study findings don't mean that all diets are a waste of time. Some, which promote eating healthier foods and increasing physical activity, can still make a positive impact on a person's health.

Around six out of 10 adults in the UK are now overweight, with one in four categorised as obese.

This article was published on Mon 25 July 2011

Image © Luis Louro -

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