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How Weight Loss in Early Adulthood Can Slow Down Biological Aging

Recent research indicates that weight management in early adulthood can influence biological aging, suggesting the need for proactive health measures during this phase of life. The study reveals a correlation between weight gain and accelerated aging, whereas weight loss from young to middle adulthood appears to decelerate the aging process.

Findings emphasize the crucial role of weight management throughout a person’s lifespan, particularly in early adulthood. As the global population ages, keeping track of weight changes could assist in identifying individuals at a heightened risk of advanced aging, potentially delaying age-related health issues.

The researchers analyzed data from 5,553 adults aged 40 to 84, taken from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted from 1999 to 2010. Weight change patterns were defined and the biological aging measure, phenotypic age acceleration (PhenoAgeAccel), was calculated.

The study found that maintaining a maximal overweight, transitioning from nonobese to obese, and stable obesity throughout adulthood consistently associated with increased PhenoAgeAccel. Participants with these weight patterns showed significantly higher PhenoAgeAccel values compared to those who maintained a stable, normal weight from young to middle adulthood.

Interestingly, the study discovered a potential association between weight loss of more than 2.5 kg and lower PhenoAgeAccel. However, transitioning from obese to nonobese between middle to late adulthood was linked with increased PhenoAgeAccel.

Crucially, the research highlighted that weight change impacts at different life stages varied in their connections with biological aging acceleration. Weight loss from young to middle adulthood resulted in a slowdown of biological aging, while weight gain led to an acceleration.

The impact of weight loss on biological aging was found to be less significant during other life periods, which aligns with previous research on telomere length. Weight loss in early adulthood often improves body composition and reduces risks of major chronic diseases. In contrast, weight loss in later life may be a signal of lean mass loss, potentially leading to frailty and increased risks of morbidity and mortality.

Researchers suggest these patterns could explain why transitioning from obese to nonobese during young or middle to late adulthood was associated with higher PhenoAgeAccel and biological age acceleration (BioAgeAccel). These insights have ignited a surge in research on anti-aging interventions for young adults.

In light of these findings, it is recommended that weight loss interventions for adults with obesity should be introduced during early adulthood to slow down aging and achieve maximum effectiveness.