In a stunning confirmation of the health-boosting power of weight loss, researchers recently determined that shedding even a modest amount of weight can pay lasting health dividends. As part of the landmark Diabetes Prevention Program study, 3,000 overweight subjects with pre-diabetes were counseled to improve the healthfulness of their diets and engage in regular physical activity as a means of preventing the development of full-blown type 2 diabetes. By the end of three years, study subjects who lost an average of 14 pounds slashed their risk of type 2 diabetes by 58 percent. Even more impressive, in this updated analysis, researchers determined that the benefits of the weight loss remained for up to 10 years, even in the subjects who gained the weight back by the end of the decade.
Any overweight individual at any age can expect meaningful and lasting benefits from losing as little as 5 to 10 percent of their current weight. In addition to reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, modest weight loss has also been shown to provide long-term protection from high blood pressure and sleep apnea, while improving quality of life and functionality.