Losing Pounds: Improve Health
A new study reaffirms what previous research has shown: carrying excess weight carries greater health risks. And being just a little bit overweight appears to be bad for your health.
Researchers found that having a history of being overweight – not obese – at any point in your life may decrease your life span.
The study, which appears in the Annals of Internal Medicine, suggests the risk of death goes up by 6 percent for those who’ve ever been overweight.
Although it doesn’t seem like much, consider this: nearly 4 out of 10 Americans are considered overweight. (About 30 percent of American adults are obese, which means their body mass index is 30 or above.)
The research also confirms that there’s no health benefit to being overweight when it comes to your risk of dying as a previous study suggested. Losing pounds to lower your body mass index may help improve your health.
Losing pounds, losing health risks
The new findings only address people who are overweight. Health officials already know that people with obesity have a higher risk for diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers and premature death.
Senior study author Andrew Stokes, assistant professor of global health, said that looking at weight across time reverses the “paradoxical association” between excess weight and mortality—from one that might appear protective, to one that is harmful.
“Having a history of being overweight or obese is linked to an increased risk for death from any cause,” he said.
The study’s first author, Edward Yu, a graduate student at Harvard T.H. Chan, said the increased risk of death for overweight and obese people is “important from a public health perspective, given that about one-third of adults in the US and more than a quarter of the world’s population is overweight.
“This is more reason why people should follow a healthy lifestyle and try to keep a normal weight,” Yu said.
Source: Boston University School of Public Health
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