Canadian study calls “healthy weight” into question

Overweight people live longer than normal weight people, it shows

Overweight people live longer than those of normal weight, a new Canadian study shows. The study, published online in the journal Obesity, looked at the relationship between body mass index (a ratio of weight and height) and death among 11,326 adults in Canada, over a 12-year period. Reserachers found that underweight people had the highest risk of dying; the extremely obese had the second highest risk. Meanwhile, overweight people had the lowest risk of all. This is the first large-scale Canadian study to show the overweight might actually live longer than normal weight people, although an earlier U.S. study (published in 2005) reached a similar conclusion. “It’s not surprising that extreme underweight and extreme obesity increase the risk of dying, but it is surprising that carrying a little extra weight may give people a longevity advantage,” said co-author Dr. David Feeny, Ph.D. of the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research (the team imcluded researchers from McGill University and Statistics Canada). Added Dr. Mark Kaplan of Portland State University, “It may be that a few extra pounds actually protect older people as their health declines, but that doesn’t mean that people in the normal weight range should try to put on a few pounds. Our study only looked at mortality, not at quality of life, and there are many negative health consequences associated with obesity, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.”

Golin/Harris International

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