Overweight Seniors May Live Longer

Body weight does not necessarily correspond to longevity. According to a new report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA),åÊ those carrying extra pounds outlive their thinner peers and those who were overweight at ages 65 and older, even those who were highly obese, had a lower mortality rate.

The report was not the first to make the connection between weight and lifespan, but is the most intensive with data from nearly 100 studies and three million people, researchers say.

In an editorial coinciding with the paper, Steven Heymsfield, M.D., executive director of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana, wrote that overweight people whose indicators such as cholesterol ‰ÛÏare in the abnormal range, then that weight is affecting you.‰Û He added that if indicators are normal, there’s no need to ‰ÛÏgo on a crash diet.‰Û

Experts suggested that concepts of fat and the body mass index (BMI), which provides a ratio of height to weight should be revised. However, those in the highest obesity categories of BMI remained at high risk.

One possible factor for the findings is that the overweight or somewhat obese are already being treated for weight-associated conditions such as high cholesterol or diabetes. Some suggested fat could be protective in some cases. But experts were quick to say that individuals should not try to gain excessive weight to live longer.
I am trying to make sense of this. Despite years of warning to control our weight, are we now saying in essence, well if you don’t take care of yourself than the medical profession will be forced to care for you and once we get your risk factors under control, even if you are still technically overweight, no worries, you will lead a long, quality life.
I have contended that many do not take self-responsibility for their health because they feel at the end of the day there will be a pill, procedure, device, implant, whatever that will save them. In the meantime, health care costs skyrocket and we all suffer from increased premiums. Studies like this one just reinforce that it is OK to go to pot!
Of course there is a middle ground here in terms of diet and nutrition. Many of our seniors suffer from malnutrition so getting them to eat properly, in essence fattening them up a bit, is a good thing. There is such a thing as a healthy weight. It means neither being too skinny or excessively overweight. As with everything else, moderation is in order.