A major American longitudinal study of 17,000 female nurses with an average of 50 has determined that being fat in middle age often slashes women’s chances of living to age 70 in good health, when compared to thin women.
Researchers defined “healthy survival” as not only being free of chronic disease, but having enough mental and physical ability to perform daily tasks like grocery shopping, vacuuming or walking up a flight of stairs.
The data is decisively disturbing for all women, even those moderately overweight.
For every 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) gained since age 18, women’s odds of surviving past 70 in good health dropped 5 percent, researchers found. Women who were already overweight at age 18 and then gained more than 10 kilograms later in life only had about a 20 percent chance of surviving to age 70 in good health. The most commonly reported diseases were cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.