LONDON (AP) “I lost a lot of weight,” says a 26-year-old Australian woman whose body weight dropped from an impressive 350 pounds to 140 pounds in just two years.
She is one of millions of people whose weight loss has been slowed or halted by the obesity epidemic.
It’s a growing problem that has taken root in Britain, France, Germany and other European nations.
In Britain, the average person loses a pound or two a year, compared with just a few pounds in France, Spain and Sweden, and even a few inches in Sweden.
But a new study published Monday in the journal BMC Medicine shows that the health problems that stem from the obesity pandemic may be much more common than previously thought.
“Obesity is an epidemic,” said the study’s senior author, Andrew J. Leung, an associate professor of preventive medicine at the University of Sydney.
“It’s been on the rise for many years, and the majority of people have a positive experience with it.”
Leung and his colleagues followed more than 2,400 people in the U.K. over a two-year period to find out whether or not they had a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes or any other cause in the first year of the pandemic.
That’s compared with a lower rate of cardiovascular disease among those who had lost weight in the previous year.
They found that the risk of developing those diseases in people who lost weight was about 30 percent lower than it was among those with a similar weight loss rate in the prior year.
“The difference is quite small,” Leung said.
“But it does suggest that people who are obese and lose weight may have a lower incidence of all the diseases that are associated with it, including diabetes.”
Leong said the data may help explain why the health effects of weight loss have not been well studied in people living in Europe and in countries with the highest rates of obesity.
The study did not include people who had undergone surgical weight loss procedures, or those who were prescribed anti-obesity medications, or people who were using medical devices that were designed to help people lose weight.
The researchers also looked at people who reported that they were eating or exercising more, were getting more exercise and were not eating much more than usual.
Those people had a higher risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetics, but were not at greater risk of cancer.
Leong and his co-authors suggest that the results show that even among people who lose weight in one year, the health risks can be mitigated by taking steps to control obesity.
And it shows that people with a weight loss plan may have fewer health risks than those who don’t, he said.
They also said that it is too early to conclude whether weight loss and exercise have an impact on overall health in the long run.
“We know that people will lose weight and lose health over time,” Leong told The Associated Press.
“People will go through cycles of weight gain and weight loss, and that’s normal.”
Leawe said the findings may not be surprising because obesity has been linked to diabetes and heart disease, which has also increased since the pandemics began.
“A lot of people would have been healthier if they’d gone back to a normal weight,” he said, “but they don’t.”
The researchers said that their study also suggests that the pandemaker may not have stopped all the obesity-related health problems in Britain and other countries.
That could be because the pandems spread to other countries, but not in Britain.
Some countries, like the United States and Germany, have already instituted strict weight-loss policies, while others, like Britain, are still struggling to implement those policies.
“There’s a lot more work to be done to understand how the pandemate has affected the health of the population,” said Andrew Sturgis, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
“One thing that we can do is look at people with the lowest health risk and see if there are differences between them.”
The study was funded by the British Heart Foundation and the Australian Health and Medical Research Council.
This story has been corrected to show that a person’s weight in pounds should be used to measure how much weight they have lost, not kilograms.