Have weight, will live long

WANT to live longer? Put on some weight, if you are thin! If we go by a report published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association, a few extra pounds are good for you and help you live longer than skinny, frail people. The crucial finding of the survey is that people who are considered overweight but not obese have a lower death risk than those of normal weight.

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Published: Sat 30 Apr 2005, 10:43 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 6:30 PM

Since the dawn of modern civilisation, we have been led to believe by health gurus that weight is the cause of all our new lifestyle illnesses like diabetes, arthritis, coronary diseases, etc. If you are a male, the risks are more because you are supposed to be carrying more burdens and responsibilities on your shoulders.

For females, the ever-changing fashion industry has set standards for their anatomy and conditioned women to think that an hourglass figure is essential to be seen as beautiful. An ounce of extra fat on any part of the body has to be sweated off and pounds of unwanted cellulite have to go under cosmetic surgeon's scalpel.

Now, the new research, based on the number of deaths related to underweight, overweight and obesity using standard body mass index parameters, correlating height to weight, has turned all beliefs upside down and set off an explosive public debate in the US, raising many queries about citizens' health and fitness programmes. The foremost question being asked is, where to draw the line for different body weight categories that define the longevity threshold? For what is considered normal weight may be overweight for some and vice versa. Similarly, obesity is dangerous to health and extreme obesity is fatal. It has been proved, time and again, that as people 'graduate' from overweight to obese to extremely obese, they face the risk of getting diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol. What is puzzling is the survey is silent on what makes moderately overweight people live longer. It seems the conclusions have been arrived at based on inductive logic, ignoring factors like age, food habits, lifestyle and stress and strain.

But if you are thinking of hanging up your jogging shoes and start ladling some extra food hoping to live a few years more, a word of caution. No survey can be definitive and conclusive. What is accepted today may be debunked tomorrow. It is wise to go by established norms rather than follow such findings blindly. It doesn't matter whether one's body shape is apple or pear, as long as we eat healthy and live healthy.



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