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Being Overweight Associated With Lower Risk of Death

The Center for Disease Control recently released a study suggesting that people who are overweight, but not obese, have a 6% lower risk of death during a given time period than people who are normal weight.

The researchers examined 97 studies that included approximately three million people from around the world. In that sample, there were 270,000 deaths. They compared the body mass index (BMI) of participants in the studies to determine the effect of being overweight on the risk of death.

It is unclear why having a high body mass index (BMI) is associated with lower risk of death.

The researchers suggest that heavier people may tend to seek medical treatment sooner and therefore have a greater likelihood of receiving optimal medical treatment and that people who have extra pounds are less likely to die from starvation if they get too sick to eat properly.

It is important to note BMI measurement does not look at how fat is distributed, which may be more important than total fat overall. Previous studies have found that belly fat significantly increases the risk of death from cardiovascular problems.

The researchers pointed out that keeping a healthy weight is still important. Obesity—and especially morbid obesity—is associated with a number of health problems including heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and kidney to failure.

The study was published on January 2, 2013, in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

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