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By Dr. Mercola
Provocative new research involving data from nearly 3 million adults
suggests that a having an overweight body mass index (BMI) may be linked to a
longer life than one that puts you within a “normal” weight range.
The research, which analyzed 97 studies in all, found that people with
BMIs under 30 but above normal (the overweight range) had a 6 percent lower
risk of dying from all causes than those who were normal weight, while those
whose BMIs fell into the obese range were 18 percent more likely to die of
The researchers wrote:
“Relative to normal weight … overweight was associated with
significantly lower all-cause mortality.”
Do a Few Extra Pounds Make You Healthier?
The study results imply, at least superficially, that carrying some extra
weight may help you live longer … or at the very least may not be as
unhealthy as it’s made out to be. In a JAMA editorial, Steven Heymsfield,
M.D. and William Cefalu, M.D. highlighted this notion:
“The presence of a wasting disease, heart disease, diabetes, renal
dialysis, or older age are all associated with an inverse relationship
between BMI and mortality rate, an observation termed the obesity
paradox or reverse epidemiology.
The optimal BMI linked with lowest mortality in patients with chronic
disease may be within the overweight and obesity range.
Even in the absence of chronic disease, small excess amounts of
adipose tissue may provide needed energy reserves during acute catabolic
illnesses, have beneficial mechanical effects with some types of traumatic
injuries, and convey other salutary effects that need to be investigated in
light of the studies … "
Indeed, it is quite possible to be overweight and healthy, just as it’s
possible to be normal weight and unhealthy. But for the vast majority of
those who carry around extra pounds, health problems will often result.
The study has been heavily criticized for painting an overly simplistic
picture of a very complex situation. For instance, it doesn’t tell you
whether those living longer were afflicted with more chronic disease or
whether their quality of life was otherwise impacted. And even more
importantly, it used only BMI as a measure of body composition, and
this is a highly flawed technique.
Many studies, such as one published in the Journal of the American
College of Cardiology have actually found that a high BMI was associated
with a lower risk of death, a phenomenon known as the "obesity paradox."
Butthese findings are typically only examples of how BMI is such a flawed
measurement tool …
Why BMI is a Flawed Measurement Tool
If you'd like to know how much body fat you have and whether or not your
levels put you into a weight category that might lead to health problems,
most public health agencies, and therefore most physicians, promote the use
of the BMI, which gauges weight in relation to height. But this method is
quite flawed, as research suggests it may underestimate obesity rates and
misclassify up to one-quarter of men and nearly half of women.
According to lead author Dr. Eric Braverman, president of the nonprofit Path
Foundation in New York City:
"Based on BMI, about one-third of Americans are considered obese, but
when other methods of measuring obesity are used, that number may be closer
One of the primary reasons why BMI is such a flawed measurement tool is
that it uses weight as a measure of risk, when it is actually a high percentage
of body fat that makes a person have an increased disease risk.
Your weight takes into account your bone structure, for instance, so a big-
boned person may weigh more, but that certainly doesn't mean they have more
Athletes and completely out-of-shape people can also have similar BMI
scores, or a very muscular person could be classified as "obese" using BMI,
when in reality it is mostly lean muscle accounting for their higher-than-
average weight. BMI also tells you nothing about where fat is located in your
body, and it appears that the location of the fat, particularly if it's around
your stomach, is more important than the absolute amount of fat when
it comes to measuring certain health risks, especially heart disease.
This is another useful tool that is leaps and bounds ahead of BMI as far as
gauging your weight-related health risks is concerned. It is FAR better to
monitor your body fat percentage than it is your total weight, as the body
fat percentage is what dictates metabolic health or dysfunction – not your
Too much body fat is linked to chronic health problems like high blood
pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, while too
little body fat is also problematic and can cause your body to enter a
catabolic state, where muscle protein is used as fuel.
Body fat calipers are one of the most trusted and most accurate ways to
measure body fat. A body fat or skinfold caliper is a lightweight, hand-held
device that quickly and easily measures the thickness of a fold of your skin
with its underlying layer of fat. Taken at three very specific locations on
your body, these readings can help you estimate the total percent of body fat
within your entire body.
Overweight Often Leads to Obesity…
It is quite clear that the more overweight you are, the greater the
health risks become. So even if it were true that a few extra pounds are
actually good for you, if you’re on a path of weight gain you’re on a
slippery slope that could easily lead to obesity.
The most recent health report card issued for the United States predicts
that half of all American adults will be obese by 2030. Obesity-related
illness is predicted to raise national health care costs by $48 billion
annually over the next two decades by adding another 7.9 million new cases
of diabetes, 5 million cases of chronic heart disease and stroke, and 400,000
cancer cases… If you want to avoid becoming one of these statistics, I
suggest you start to look at your weight as less a product of “calories in
vs. calories out” and more the result of a faulty “fat switch.
Thank You Dr. Mercola
God Bless Everyone & God Bless The United States of America.
42 S. Sherwood Dr.
Belton, Tx. 76513
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