Overweight—But Not Obese—People Have a Lower Mortality Rate than Those of Normal Weight

Friday, January 04, 2013
(AP Photo)

A new medical report says being overweight, as long as it’s not obese, isn’t necessarily bad for long-term health.


After compiling studies that covered 2.88 million people, researchers found that those considered overweight based on their body mass index (BMI) had less risk of dying than people of normal weight.


Also, people on the lower end of obesity (BMI of 30 to 34.9) were not more likely to die than normal-weight people.


Health experts not involved in the research said Americans shouldn’t take away from this new information that it is okay to eat anything they want.


“We wouldn’t want people to think, ‘Well, I can take a pass and gain more weight,’” Dr. George Blackburn, associate director of Harvard Medical School’s Division of Nutrition, told The New York Times.


Blackburn and others said the study shows that BMI should not be the only indicator of healthy weight, with blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar also taken into serious consideration for the sake of one’s health and prolonged life.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Study Suggests Lower Mortality Risk for People Deemed to Be Overweight (by Pam Belluck, New York Times)

Higher Levels of Obesity Associated With Increased Risk of Death; Being Overweight Associated With Lower Risk of Death (Journal of the American Medical Association)

Association of All-Cause Mortality With Overweight and Obesity Using Standard Body Mass Index Categories (by Katherine M. Flegal, Brian K. Kit, Heather Orpana and Barry I. Graubard, Journal of the American Medical Association)

Why are Americans Growing Obese? Blame Richard Nixon and Earl Butz (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)

Being Obese is Expensive: The Numbers (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


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