Carrying a little extra flab might help people livelonger

November 14th, 2007 - 10:17 am ICT by admin  
The study, led by Katherine Flegal, has caused an outcry among public health professionals by suggesting that, contrary to conventional perception, being overweight might actually be beneficial for health.

The study stated that carrying a little extra flab, though not too much, might help people to live longer.

It also added that those between 25 and 59 years old were likely to get the benefit of the new finding, although there were also some advantages for people over 60 years of age.

“The take-home message is that the relationship between fat and mortality is more complicated than we tend to think,” the Independent quoted Flegal, as saying.

“It’s not a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all situation where excess weight just increases your mortality risk for any and all causes of death,” she added.

However, the reports have not been received well by many medical experts.

“It’s just rubbish,” said Walter Willett, the professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.

“It’s just ludicrous to say there is no increased risk of mortality from being overweight,” he added.

However, the scientists were careful not to stress that the benefits they were describing were limited to those people who are merely overweight, which generally meant being no more than 30 pounds heavier than recommended for a person’s height and certainly does not carry over to those who fall into the category of obese.

“You may also have more lean mass - more bone and muscle. If you are in an adverse situation, that could be good for you,” Flegal said.

The researchers concluded that modestly overweight people demonstrated a lower death rate than their peers who were underweight, obese or normal weight.

The study in its conclusions stated that being overweight, “was associated with significantly decreased all-cause mortality overall”.

“Overweight… may be associated with improved survival during recovery from adverse conditions, such as infections or medical procedures, and with improved prognosis for some diseases. Such findings may be due to greater nutritional reserves or higher lean body mass associated with overweight,” the study stated.

The study is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. (ANI)

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