Extra flab may help people survive in middle-age: Study

At last there is something that the obese can cheer about. Medical theory is replete with studies that establish a direct link between obesityand other medical conditions. The harmful effects of being overweight are well known.

Findings of a new study however add a positive dimension to that extra flab. People who are overweight in their 50’s and manage to keep this weight stable are more likely to survive the next 16 years vis-à-vis an individual with normal weight, reveals the study.

Study Methodology and Findings
For the purpose of the study, researchers at the Ohio State University interviewed close to 10,000 people every two years from 1992 through 2009.

At the outset these people were categorized into 6 groups depending on the BMIs. The BMIs of the study participants was thereafter recorded at every interview during the 16 year tenure of the study.

The analysis revealed that 7.2 percent of deaths that after the age of 51 were because of the weight gain among overweight people. Small weight gains after attaining the age of 51 did not drastically lower the likelihood of survival.

The study also established slightly overweight people with BMI of 25 to 29.9 who managed to keep their weight under control had the highest probability of survival, followed by people who moved from the category of being overweight to obese.

Hui Zheng, lead author of the study and assistant professor of sociology at the Ohio State University said, “You can learn more about older people’s mortality risk by looking at how their weight is changing than you can by just looking at how much they weigh at any one time.”

The researchers averred that old people are more prone to contracting like threatening diseases including cancer. Such medical conditions entail a drastic weight loss.

In such cases, slightly overweight people find themselves in a better position as “extra weight may provide protection against nutritional and energy deficiencies, metabolic stresses, the development of wasting and frailty, and loss of muscle and bone density caused by chronic diseases.’