Carrying Some Extra Pounds May Not Be Good After All

Henrietta Brewer
April 5, 2017

"This means more severe grades of obesity correspond to increasingly higher risk", study co-author Dr. Eduardo Villamor, a professor of epidemiology with the University of Michigan School of Public Health, told HealthDay News. A similar trend was also seen for risk of death from heart disease, with a 23 percent increased risk in overweight individuals, 71 percent in obese, and more than triple the risk for the morbidly obese.

Data for the study came from the Nurses' Health Study (NHS), initiated in 1976; the Nurses' Health Study II (NHS II) initiated in 1989; and the Health Professionals Follow-Up (HPFS) study, begun in 1986.

At the same time, Kahan thinks ultimately it will be proven that overweight and obese people could reduce their risk by losing weight.

His approach is also different from that taken by the authors of the 2013 study that startled many in the public health community by suggesting that being overweight could lead to a longer life.

30 percent increased risk with grade II obesity.

The healthiest people were those that had a normal weight all the time.

For a while now, experts have puzzled over the "obesity paradox": stats that appear to suggest there's a health and longevity advantage to being overweight or obese. The following were the criteria used to determine BMI range: Underweight (BMI less than 18.5), normal weight (BMI of 18.5-25), overweight (BMI of 25-30), obese (BMI of 30-35), and morbidly obese (BMI greater than 35). Also, it is important to know that nearly 70% of the U.S. population is obese or overweight.

To conduct the study, the researchers collected and analyzed the weight history of 225,072 men and women.

"Given that overweight and obesity are potentially modifiable risk factors, prevention of obesity in women of reproductive age may be an important public health strategy to reduce the incidence of epilepsy", the study's authors concluded. The weight of evidence, it seemed, confirmed an "obesity paradox" whereby people with higher BMIs lived longer. "This new analysis provides a novel way of addressing this issue by using weight history to distinguish between people who were slim over time from those who were formerly heavy and lost weight after developing an illness", he says. Some researchers speculate it could be that a little extra fat protects people if they fall, or that it offers an energy reserve during illness. From there, scientists were able to link the medical condition to their mother's body mass index - or commonly referred to as BMI, which is an estimate of a person's body fat based on their height and weight - at 14 weeks of pregnancy, shortly after she began her second trimester. Heymsfield is an obesity researcher at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, La. On the other hand, the health of overweight people is still debatable.

In any case, she said, BMIs are just "ballpark categories", and "if you want to know someone's health risks, you should measure their blood pressure, measure their cholesterol, check their blood sugar".

"Individuals should try as hard as possible to maintain weight in a normal range for as large a portion of their adult life as possible", he says.

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