According to new research this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), researchers say that being overweight may lead to a longer life.
The somewhat surprising conclusion comes from an enormous, detailed review of over 100 previously published research papers connecting body weight and mortality risk among 2.88 million study participants living around the world.
The new research confirms that obese people, and particularly those who are extremely obese, tend to die earlier than those of normal weight. But the findings also suggest that people who are overweight (but not obese) may live longer than people with clinically normal body weight.The new report is the largest and most comprehensive review of how weight, measured as body mass index (BMI) a measure comparing the ratio of height to weight, can influence longevity. Previous studies that have exposed the link in the past, however, have raised questions about whether the overweight advantage is real.
“We published an article in 2005 that showed, among other things, that (being) overweight was associated with lower mortality — and we got an awful lot of negative feedback from that,” says the current study’s lead author, Katherine Flegal, a senior research scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Since that study, however, dozens of others have reached the same conclusion — even if it was hard for researchers and the public to accept.