Obese: Scientists say dieters will most likely return to their former selves.
A few lose weight but very few get back to normal. The best policy is to prevent people becoming overweight. For men [weight] goes up steadily through life. For women it starts slowly and accelerates in the mid-thirties.
But the study’s findings do not mean dieting is pointless, as eating less and taking more exercise can increase fitness and lower blood pressure.
In 2009, a quarter of adults and 14 per cent of children were obese, according to the Department of Health’s latest Health Survey for England.
Although previous research has shown one in four Britons is trying to lose weight at any one time, it has been predicted that 60 per cent of us will be obese by 2050, leading to even more cases of diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Experts have suggested evolution means we are programmed to put on weight rather than lose it. Dieting can make this tendency worse as decreasing calorie intake triggers the body to go into starvation mode and reduce the amount of energy it naturally expends, making it even harder to lose weight.
Commenting on the study, Professor Nick Finer, an endocrinologist at University College London Hospital, said: ‘It is unlikely that man would have evolved with mechanisms to counter obesity which has only become a problem in the last 30-40 years.
For most of human history, storing fat would have been an advantage.