Experts reject claims that extra weight is healthy
Jeremy Laurance is a writer on health issues. He is former health editor of The Independent and the i and has covered the specialism for more than 20 years. He thinks the harm medicine does is under-appreciated, the harm it prevents over-rated, and that cycling works better than most drugs. He was named Specialist Journalist of the Year in the 2011 British Press Awards.
Thursday 03 January 2013
It was, given its timing, unexpectedly good news: as thousands were poised to begin New Year diets, US researchers reported on 1 January that being overweight could extend your life.
But rather than celebrate, UK experts today tried to pour cold water on the findings – exactly as the chief author of the study, Katherine Flegal, predicted they would.
Dr Flegal, from the National Centre for Health Statistics in Maryland, and her team reviewed almost 100 studies of the link between weight and mortality, involving nearly 3 million people.
Their findings, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), showed those who were overweight (with a Body Mass Index of 25 to 30) and those who were mildly obese (with a BMI up to 35) had a 5 to 6 per cent lower chance of dying prematurely than "normal weight" individuals (18.5 to 25 BMI).
Professor Nick Finer, of University College Hospital, said BMI was an "imperfect measure" which depended on additional factors such as blood pressure and cholesterol. Professor Stephen O'Rahilly, of the University of Cambridge Metabolic Research Laboratories, said: "The lack of adverse effects on mortality of mild obesity and the apparent slight reduction in death rate... should not be taken to mean that such states are not likely to be harmful to health."
Life & Style blogs
Kanye West's Yeezy Boost trainers: All you need to know ahead of the UK launch
How Stephen Hawking is still alive, defying ALS and the worst expectations
The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
Brit Awards 2015: Red carpet round up, from Paloma Faith to Ed Sheeran
- 1 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 2 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 3 What color is The Dress, white and gold or blue and black? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 Fearne Cotton quits Radio 1 after ten years for 'family and new adventures'
salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...
£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...