Americans are being urged to shed pounds, but a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that a little extra weight may offer unexpected health benefits. For the last several decades, health experts have been warning that obesity increases the likelihood of early death. A systematic review of 97 studies involving roughly 3 million individuals throws that assumption into question.
The researchers used Body Mass Index or “>BMI to make comparisons between studies. They found that significant obesity was linked to a higher rate of premature death, but surprisingly, overweight was associated with a lower likelihood of dying during the study period. The BMI for overweight people went from 25 to just under 30, while normal weight is defined as a BMI from 18.5 to just under 25. Obesity is clearly associated with health risks such as arthritis, diabetes and other chronic conditions, but moderate overweight may not be as dangerous as previously believed.
[Journal of the American Medical Association, Jan. 2, 2013]