Study suggests few extra pounds could lower risk of early death - WKRN News 2

Study suggests few extra pounds could lower risk of early death


While losing weight is often at the top of New Year's resolutions' list, a new study suggests it may be healthier to hold on to a few extra pounds.  

The study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows people who are slightly overweight have a six percent lower risk of early death than those at a normal weight.

Scientists at the CDC analyzed studies which included nearly three million people from around the world to determine their findings.

Nashville's News 2 spoke with Dr. Kevin Neiswender, an assistant professor at Vanderbilt University who said the "study has a lot of strengths, but it also has a lot of weakness."

He added, "It clearly needs to be taken with a large grain of salt and it does not by any stretch of the imagination demonstrate that being overweight it healthy."

According to Neiswender, the scientists involved in the study, which is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, determined their findings based on a person's overall body mass index, or BMI.

"It's a very crude risk marker for having problems related to obesity," he said.

The study went on to conclude that relative to normal weight people who are extremely obese had a 29% increased risk of death, while obese people had an 18% increased risk of death and overweight people had a six percent lower risk of early death.

According to Dr. Niswender, two-thirds of  Americans are overweight or obese. He added that weight loss is very important for overall health and that the study based on BMI can be misleading.

"Body mass index doesn't really technically say how much fat a person has, it doesn't say were that fat is stored, it doesn't say if that person has high blood pressure or diabetes or high cholesterol levels," he explained.   

Niswender also added that being physically fit is even more important than weight loss.

"Being physically fit, exercise, physical activity, having good cardiovascular fitness does seem to protect against many of the bad affects of being over weight or obese," he said.

While some people always look for a shortcut or excuse to not exercise, Niswender said there is not a substitute for healthy living.

To view the complete study by the CDC, visit Journal of the American Medical Association's Web site.

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