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A Little Extra Weight May Help You Live Longer

A new Japanese study found that being too skinny may actually be more dangerous than being obese, and that slightly overweight people actually live longest.

The study, which included 50,000 people between 40-79 years of age, was conducted by the Japanese Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry research team.

The researchers divided the participants into four groups based on body mass index (BMI):

1. overweight (more than 30 BMI)

2. slightly overweight (BMI between 25 and 30)

3. normal (BMI between 18.5-25)

4. thin (less than 18.5 BMI)

The participants were followed for a 12 year period.

BMI is a measure of an individual's weight in relation to their height. The formula used to calculate BMI is Weight (lb) / (Height (in) x Height (in)) x 703

The researchers found that slightly overweight individuals lived an average of 6 to 7 years longer than thin people.

Furthermore, the researchers found that the life expectancy of the thinnest people in the study was about 5 years less than the overweight participants.

It has been hypothesized that thinner peoples lives were shorter because they may have been more likely to be sick or smoke. However, when the researchers eliminated those factors, the results barely changed.

The researchers theorize that the main contributor to the lower life expectancy of thin people is their higher susceptibility to contagious diseases.

The researchers note that these findings should by no means encourage people to eat as much as they want.  However, they recommend that very thin people strive to achieve a normal BMI.

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