Posted in: Health Studies

Being Slightly Overweight Might Let People Live Longer, Study Finds

Slightly High BMI might help you live longer

A new study found in The Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that being overweight could help you live longer. Researchers found that people listed as “slightly overweight” were less likely to die early than people considered to be in a “normal” weight class under certain circumstances.

While the study doesn’t suggest becoming slightly obese, it notes that a body mass index (B.M.I.) between 30 to 34.9, the lowest obesity level, could actually lead to a longer life cycle.

Various studies have come to the same conclusion; however, this new study is the first to be conducted on a massive scale. Researchers examined more than 100 previously conducted weight studies to reach their final internal results.

Researchers outside of the study note that other factors such as poor health, genetic traits, and other considerations should also be made independently of a person’s weight. Researchers also note that B.M.I’s above the 30 to 34.9 range do still greatly increase the chance of death.

Lead study researcher Katherine Flegal, Ph.D., of the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics tells ABC News that the study closely matched her teams research in 2005:

“We found that being overweight in that study was not associated with excess mortality from cardiovascular disease or cancer, but it reduced mortality from other things. There’s even some research that suggests body fat itself could be cardioprotective.”

Dr. Steven Heymsfield, executive director of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana, tells the New York Times:

“For overweight people, if indicators like cholesterol “are in the abnormal range, then that weight is affecting you,” but that if indicators are normal, there’s no reason to “go on a crash diet.”

Researchers also note that a “normal” B.M.I. rate of 18.5 to 24.9 should be revised because the 18.5 level is too low.

According to Dr. Kamyar Kalantar-Zadeh:

“Fat per se is not as bad as we thought.”

In fact, researchers have long said that belly fat is bad, while non-belly fat such as the skin below your thighs and your butt area is not necessarily harmful.

Researchers believe mortality rates may decrease among slightly overweight people because they are more likely to visit the doctor. By discovering their fight with high cholesterol or diabetes, doctors are able to treat their symptoms and allow them to live a longer life.

While being slightly overweight may help a person live slightly longer, their quality of life is often hindered, leading researchers to question if the longer mortality rate is worth the lack of quality in life.

You can determine your own B.M.I. by visiting the CDC Website HERE.

[Image via ShutterStock]

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6 Responses to “Being Slightly Overweight Might Let People Live Longer, Study Finds”

  1. Vanessa Powers

    And the BMI is a *completely outdated* and improper way to assess if one is 'fat' or not. It doesn't take into account bone structure, and fat placement (a disproportionate amount of stomach fat is an indicator of heart disease, etc.) This study is simply helping to justify many Americans and others who have poor eating habits and don't exercise.