Study: Overweight Women Live Longer Than “Skinny” Women

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scaleThere has been a lot of information published about the many dangers of being overweight. It seems that a lot of health challenges can be avoided by simply shedding 10 or more pounds, if you are overweight.

Even advice like “eat healthy and exercise more” is, among other things, also encouraging us to stay at a healthy weight. When we exercise more and eat a healthy and balanced diet, we generally feel better physically and it also does great things for our mental and emotional health. Knowing that you are treating your body well and are keeping your promises to yourself, about eating well and exercising, make you feel better about yourself.

 According to a new study analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, overweight men and women have significantly less chance of dying from any cause – even when compared to those of normal weight.

Researchers from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) looked at nearly 100 studies and 2.88 million people to get a better idea of how weight and overall mortality are connected. They calculated the risk of death relative to those with a normal Body Mass Index (BMI of 18.5 to 24.9), and found that men and women classified as obese (BMI of greater than 30) had an 18 percent higher risk of death, but those who were overweight (BMI of 25 to 29.9) reduced their odds of all-mortality death by 6 percent.

“Our goal was to review 100 percent of the literature,” says lead study author Katherine Flegal, Ph.D. “In obese people the risk (of death) was higher, yet we found that in 70 percent of cases, in people who were modestly overweight, there was a lower mortality risk. It might have something to do with active adipose tissue producing beneficial functions that we don’t yet understand.”

If this new study sounds like a good reason not to worry about recent holiday weight gain, think twice before buying in. There could be some drawbacks to the research. “There are two possibilities,” says Steven Heymsfield, MD, of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge. “Either it’s a real finding that can actually help people, or it’s a statistical artifact. One of the issues is that the research inadvertently included sick people, who might lose weight because of illness.” In other words, a person who was overweight when she developed a condition could have fallen in the normal weight range at time of death. So, take this analysis with a grain of salt.

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