Being slightly overweight may actually not pose a risk to health, but even adding years to life. According to a new study, moderately overweight people live longer than slim and obese people.
Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCp) analyzed data from 97 studies that included nearly 3 million adult men and women in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, Japan, Brazil, Taiwan, China, Mexico and India. During the course of these studies a total of 270,000 people died of variety of causes. As expected, severely overweight people with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or more died younger than those having a BMI of 18.5-24.9, or normal weight, or statistically, obese people had 29% higher risk of death than normal weight individuals.
To calculate BMI specialists use a formula that divides a person’s weight by their height. According to latest data, 40 percent of adult men and nearly 30 percent of adult women in the US are overweight, or with BMI of more than 30. One in three Americans is obese.
The research published online by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), discovered that slightly overweight people, with BMI of 25 to 29.9, had a 6% lower risk of death compared to regular weight people. Katherine M. Flegal, lead author of the study and epidemiologist at the CDC admitted that similar results have been observed in previous analyses.
The possible reasons for the surprising data are many, but most scientists mention that preferential treatment can really compensate for higher risk in slightly overweight people. Mildly overweight patients are usually treated more aggressively for high blood pressure and cholesterol problems than slim patients. Other reason is that in cases of severe illnesses, slightly overweight people have a survival advantage due to their extra fat providing the body with energy reserves.
All scientists, however, point out that defining BMI cannot perfectly predicts the metabolic risk because it can’t indicates with guarantee how much extra fat an individual carries. Sticking to the formula, we can assess an extra muscular patient as overweight, which won’t be true.
As a whole, the results from the analysis cannot help much, because the reasons for the observed occurrences are not yet clear. But doctors begin to ask themselves whether being moderately obese is really that bad? Well, it appears that a few extra pounds can make us healthier and live to older age.