New York: Older women who sustained a stable weight were 1.2 to 2 times more likely to achieve longevity compared to those who experienced a weight loss of 5 per cent or more, said researchers from the University of California, San Diego.
In the study, published online in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, researchers investigated the associations of weight changes later in life with exceptional longevity among 54,437 postmenopausal women.
Throughout the follow up period, 30,647, or 56 per cent of the participants, survived to the age of 90 or beyond.
Women who lost at least 5 per cent weight were less likely to achieve longevity compared to those who achieved stable weight.
For example, women who unintentionally lost weight were 51 per cent less likely to survive to the age of 90.
However, gaining 5 per cent or more weight, compared to stable weight, was not associated with exceptional longevity.
"Our findings support stable weight as a goal for longevity in older women," said first author Aladdin H. Shadyab, Associate Professor at UC San Diego.
"If ageing women find themselves losing weight when they are not trying to lose weight, this could be a warning sign of ill health and a predictor of decreased longevity."
The findings suggest that general recommendations for weight loss in older women may not help them live longer. Nevertheless, the authors caution that women should heed medical advice if moderate weight loss is recommended to improve their health or quality of life.
The data expands on the growing research linking the relationship between weight change and mortality. Notably, this is the first large study to examine weight change later in life and its relation to exceptional longevity.