Overweight People May Live Longest

Once in a while there emerges health news that makes everyone scratch their heads. Here comes one of those moments…couple silhouette

If you are overweight – but only a little bit – congratulations, you are probably going to live the longest of any of us. That’s right, according to a new study people who were overweight, but not obese, were in prime position to outlive everyone else.

In the study, published in the journal Obesity, experts followed people 25 and older for 12 years. What they found was that people in the body mass index range of 25-29.9 were 17 percent less likely to die than those who were normal weight (a BMI of 18.5-24.9). Those who were underweight, a BMI less than 18.5, were 73 percent more likely to die than those who were normal weight.

“Overweight may not be the problem we thought it was,” said Dr. David H. Feeny, a senior investigator at Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon, and one of the authors of the study. “Overweight was protective.”

The study was thorough and took into account issues that may lead people to poke holes in it: age, gender, people’s smoking habits, exercise, alcohol consumption, and diseases such as cancer.

In 2007, scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute reported that overweight adults were less likely than normal weight adults to die from a variety of diseases, including infections and lung disease.

Feeny says the findings may be due to the fact that a little excess weight is protective for the elderly. But the one possible explanation that would diffuse the controversial aspect of the findings is that maybe medication, used to treat health conditions associated with being overweight, is responsible for prolonging their lives.

(via: The New York Times)

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