In the study, the researchers followed 1,273 British men and women for up to 64 years. The data came from the U.K. Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development (NSHD). At several points in the participants’ lives — including childhood and ages 36, 43, 53 and 60 to 64 — the researchers classified the people as normal weight, overweight or obese. During the course of the study, the researchers also examined the participants’ blood pressure, took blood samples from them and asked them if they smoked.
“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 body fat, study author John Deanfield, of University College London in the United Kingdom, said in a statement. [Lose Weight Smartly: 7 Little-Known Tricks That Shave Pounds]
“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,” Deanfield said.