Extra pounds may be healthy—as long as its just a few

January 2, 2013

Turns out a few extra pounds may not be such a bad thing, according to a new analysis of nearly three million adults that showed people who are overweight or slightly obese may live longer.

But experts were quick to caution that the possible benefits dropped off when the "few" extra pounds turned into many.

The researchers used data from nearly 100 studies from around the world, with from more than 2.8 million adults.

Among the sampled population, there were around 270,000 deaths within the study period.

Even after controlling for other factors, such as age, sex, smoking, those whose weight and height put them in the "overweight" category were six percent less at risk of dying than those in the "normal" category.

And those who were "slightly obese," with heights and weights that gave them BMIs of 30 to 35, were five percent less at risk of dying in a given period.

But for those who were more significantly obese, with BMIs of 35 and higher, the mortality rate soared by 29 percent compared to "normal" weight subjects, according to the authors of the meta-analysis, published Tuesday in the .

, which stands for body-mass index, is calculated by dividing weight in kilograms by height in meters, squared.

The authors suggested several possible reasons to explain why some extra weight may be good, but too much is bad, including that those with a few extra pounds may be more likely to receive "optimal ."

They said it was also possible that increased provided metabolic benefits that protect the heart, or that having extra reserves of fat could be helpful for those whose sicknesses make it hard to eat.

Lead researcher Katherine Flegel, of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or , published a in 2005 that indicated there was a link between and living longer.

This time, her analysis was based on a much larger number sample pool, across different countries in North America, Europe, Asia and South America.

These studies and others show that small amounts of excess fat "may provide needed energy reserves" during illness, or help in other ways that need to be investigated, wrote biomedical researchers Steven Heymsfield and William Cefalu in an editorial also published Tuesday in the JAMA.

"Not all patients classified as being overweight or having grade 1 obesity, particularly those with chronic diseases, can be assumed to require loss treatment," they emphasized.

CDC director Thomas Friedan said in a statement that "we still have to learn about obesity, including how best to measure it."

However, he insisted that "it's clear that being obese is not healthy, it increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and many other health problems."

"Small, sustainable increases in physical activity and improvements in nutrition can lead to significant health improvements."

According to CDC statistics, a third of US adults are considered obese.

Explore further: Above-normal weight alone does not increase the short-term risk of death: study

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5 comments

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Lurker2358
not rated yet Jan 02, 2013
Being a wraith is not healthy.
gmurphy
not rated yet Jan 02, 2013
Neither is being an Orca
Roj
not rated yet Jan 03, 2013
The study fails to differentiate between disease or trauma.

The lack of "Risk taking behavior" and rising BMI are both characteristics of maturing age groups.

Higher mortality may be explained by higher "risk taking behavior" among the less mature & lower BMI's.
Roj
not rated yet Jan 03, 2013
If lethal-drug interactions really do account for half of all accidental fatalities, this study ignores how a given dose of drugs & alcohol are diluted in higher-mass BMI's.
gwrede
not rated yet Jan 03, 2013
The authors suggested several possible reasons to explain why some extra weight may be good, but too much is bad, including that those with a few extra pounds may be more likely to receive "optimal medical treatment."
Seesh!! That implies that doctors treat the non-obese worse. And that it is a nationwide phenomenon because it shows up in this large study!

So, the fat conspire against the normal???
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