Death risk not linked to being overweight27th October 2009
Being overweight - as opposed to obese - may not actually increase your risk of dying, a new study from Germany has shown.
While many studies have linked increased mortality to obesity and being overweight, they may be too pessimistic for people in the overweight category.
The researchers found that most Germans had a body mass index (BMI) of between 25 and 29.9 kg/m2, which put them in the overweight, rather than obese category.
In a systematic review of 42 existing studies, the authors examined the relationship between weight and the risk of disease or death.
While obesity leads to a 20% increase in mortality, being overweight does not.
Obesity also seemed to have less of an impact on health risks later in life than when people were young.
Overweight men were seen to have a 7% lower death rate from cancer than their normal weight peers, while a higher BMI was linked to fewer bone fractures.
Overweight men and women did have a 20% higher risk for heart attack, but the risk rose by 50% in those with a BMI of more than 30.
Weight seemed unrelated to stroke incidence, and overweight women were no more likely to die than their thinner peers.
Younger men who were overweight, on the other hand, showed a 10% increase in mortality.
The authors said that interpreting the results was challenging, as the mortality risks for several diseases were increased by obesity and overweight, while they were reduced or unchanged for others.
They said they had insufficient data to tell whether the location of fat on the body made a difference to health risk.
However, they warned that the risk of developing type 2 diabetes rose by about 20% for every 1kg/m2 of BMI, with an increase of 100% for a BMI of 29.2.
They concluded that the assumption that overweight versus normal weight was associated with an increased morbidity and mortality risk must be stated more specifically.
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Title: Death risk not linked to being overweight
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 13025
Date Added: 27th Oct 2009