Table 1—

The pros and cons of weight loss based on observational and intervention studies

Health benefits of weight loss
    Lower levels of cardiovascular risk factors, e.g., blood pressure, lipids, and glycemia
    Less abdominal obesity increases adiponectin levels and insulin sensitivity
    Lower incidence of new-onset type 2 diabetes in subjects with impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose when combined with physical activity
    Reduced symptoms of musculoskeletal and joint pain, obstipation, and psychological complaints
    Improved quality of life in very obese subjects
Health hazards of weight loss
    Increased mortality risk in observational studies, even in subjects with the intention to lose weight. Controversies still exist based on lack of information, e.g., on the intentionality of weight loss in other studies with opposite findings
    Increased risk of osteoporotic fractures in lean elderly subjects
    Increased risk of gallstone attacks if (intentional) weight loss is rapid
    Loss of muscle tissue if weight loss is only based on dieting and not the combination with increased physical activity