New research suggests those who have a BMI that ranks them overweight or slightly obese have a lower risk of dying than people of normal weight.
(Image source: Life Change Fitness ) BY NICHOLE CARTMELL ANCHOR LAUREN GORES You may no longer need to worry about losing a few extra pounds this new year. Research published in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association, puts being overweight in a new context. A writer for MedScape explains researchers looked at nearly three million people and compared their risk of dying to their body mass index. The study found those who were considered overweight--meaning their BMI was 24 to 35--had a lower risk of dying than people of normal weight. A personal trainer tells the BBC that while there are a number of deadly health problems associated with being obese , the study points out that’s not true for those just considered to be overweight . The research draws a distinct line between the two. “This is what the study really says, you cannot judge someone by how they look. You have to take a person as an individual and see what’s going on in their life. Are they healthy, are the exercising, are they eating properly? All these things before you make a judgement.” The New York Times says this is the largest and most careful study done on the subject. But a number of health experts are concerned about how people will interpret the results. The associate director of Harvard Medical School’s nutrition division says... “We wouldn’t want people to think, ‘Well, I can take a pass and gain more weight.” Especially because poor eating and exercise habits can lead to becoming “obese,”-- which does increase deadly health risks. But some say this review supports re-examining the use of BMI as a way to determine if someone is overweight or obese. The director of Yale University's Prevention Research Center told ABC News ... "In a society prone to both epidemic and increasingly severe obesity, it may be that those who manage to remain in the 'overweight' class are, in fact, those who are actually doing quite well... The definition of 'overweight' should begin where health risks begin." TIME explains there are many possible explanations for why overweight people live longer. For example... They may get better medical care because they show earlier signs of adverse health conditions, and others suggest it may because overweight people have more to lose when diseases like cancer strike. TIME goes on to explain the relationship between weight and health is complicated and should not only be measured by the number of years lived. Doctors also point out, added weight can lead to other conditions like diabetes.