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  • Rita Date

Little More Weight May Help You Live Longer


The newest research hitting the headlines is “Being a Little Overweight Will Actually Help You Live Longer.” Researchers now say there may be some benefit to having a little extra body fat.

While there’s no question that being obese will raise the risk of all kinds of illnesses and even shorten lifespan due to diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, it’s less clear what happens to people who are less overweight.

All this means is that a little bit of cushioning is healthier than being an artificial size zero. By a little bit of cushioning I mean having a BMI of 26 or 27. Extreme dieting and not get the nutrients you need will weaken your immune system and will be cause for more harm than good. In the long run all the dieting to achieve a certain body type may not be the best option as far as longevity is concerned. Remember Kareena Kapoor who led the public to believe that size zero was the body type to strive for — she is now changing her tune and saying having some curves is the way to be.

Katherine Flegal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US conducted in-depth research on the subject.”We searched all the literature, thousands of articles, found almost 100 articles with 3 million people, that really addressed this question head on,” Flegal says.

She concludes that being overweight is actually associated with a lower risk of death, about 6 percent decreased risk.

But not all or many of her peers are buying the research — One of the experts who does not think the research is conclusive is epidemiologist, Walter Willett of Harvard School of Public Health. Willett says it’s not helpful to look simply at how body mass indexes or BMIs, influence the risk of premature death, as this paper did. without knowing something about people’s health or fitness. Some people are thin because they’re ill, so of course they’re at higher risk of dying. The study doesn’t take this into consideration.

There are those who agree with the research. Dr. Steven Hymsfield, of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., says there are a couple of scenarios in which extra body weight might help people live longer.

“If you fall and you fall on vulnerable bone, like the hip, having a little extra fat there might protect you from hip fracture,” Hymsfield says. Extra body fat could be useful during an  illness that leaves you unable to eat.

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