- CRITTER TALK
- SCI/TECH/OTHER STUFF
I had pretty much resigned myself to croaking early when I read this Newser summary:
Being obese is likely to take years off your life, but those who are just a bit overweight actually appear to have a lower risk of premature death than those of normal weight, according to a startling new study. Researchers crunched the numbers on studies involving nearly 3 million people and found that people classed as overweight died at slightly lower rates than those with a normal body mass index, while those considered mildly obese didn’t have a higher risk of premature death than the normal group, reports the Los Angeles Times.
A total of 270,000 people died of any cause during the studies. When the scientists crunched the numbers, they found, as expected, that people who were significantly obese — with a body mass index, or BMI, of 35 or more — had shorter life spans on average than those who were of normal weight, defined as having a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9.
But the scientists also found that people classified as overweight, with a BMI of 25 to 29.9, died at slightly lower rates — not higher — than those of so-called normal weight. And they found that those who were mildly obese, with a BMI of 30 to 34.9, died in no greater numbers than did their normal-weight peers.
Among over-65s, even the highly obese had no extra mortality risk. Experts say the apparent survival edge of the overweight could come down to many factors—extra reserves of fat during illness, more padding to protect elderly bones from falls, or perhaps the fact that the overweight are likelier to suffer medical conditions that bring them in regular contact with doctors. It’s those chronic conditions, including diabetes and high blood pressure, that make researchers hope the study won’t start a stampede for the cookie aisle.