Slight Obesity May Confer Lower Mortality

An interesting, and somewhat surprising, finding was uncovered by the National Center for Health Statistics in a recent comprehensive review of the medical literature. After reviewing over 95 medical studies and close to 3 million subjects, the researchers concluded that people medically classified as overweight and low-grade obesity have significantly lower mortality risk than people in the normal weight category! Excess mortality occurs only at the highest levels of obesity, i.e., grade 2 and higher.

These findings are somewhat puzzling, although they are consistent with several previous studies.

A Body Mass Index (BMI) of 18.5 to just below 25 is considered normal weight – e.g., an individual 5′ 8” and 160 lbs. is considered normal weight.People with a BMI of 25 to just below 30 (e.g., 5′ 8” and 190 lbs.) are classified as overweight, while those with a BMI of 30 to just below 35 (e.g., 5′ 8” and 200 lbs.) are labeled grade 1 (or low-grade) obesity. A BMI of 35 to just below 40 is grade 2 obesity.

We don’t know why overweight and slight obesity may be protective.We can only speculate at this point. Among the possible explanations: slightly increased amounts of body fat may provide beneficial and protective metabolic effects.

So, carrying a little extra weight may have some benefits.

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