Unlike obesity, being overweight does not increase the risk of excess mortality

Home Unlike obesity, being overweight does not increase the risk of excess mortality
Written by Doug Hampton

An American study suggests that people who are overweight but below the obesity threshold live slightly longer than other categories.

Tuesday, in the review PLOS Onethe results of an American study have been published which suggest that being overweight is not particularly bad for your health.

Researchers from the Rutgers Institute for Health, in New Jersey, based their study on more than 550,000 adults in the United States, and according to them, this excess weight would not lead to excess mortality.

A slightly lower death rate

Thus, according to scientists, an overweight person without being obese has a slightly lower mortality rate than people in the weight range considered ideal by the World Health Organization (WHO).

But what is this weight? The WHO judges overweight on the basis of the Body Mass Index (BMI) of between 25 and 29.9. As a reminder, the BMI is calculated as follows: weight in kilos divided by the square of the height expressed in meters.

The result of the study

Thus, according to the analysis of the weights of this large cohort, a BMI between 25 and 27.4 resulted in a 5% lower risk of death than a BMI between 22.5 and 24.9. And a higher BMI, from 27.5 to 29.9, would be associated with a 7% lower risk of death.

Aayush Visaria, lead author of the study, summarizes:

The real message of this study is that being overweight as defined by BMI is a poor indicator of mortality risk, and that BMI in general is a poor indicator of health risks and should be supplemented with information such as as waist circumference, other measures of fatness and weight trajectory.

BMI, an obsolete tool?

Beyond these figures and other rates, what should be remembered here is that the BMI is increasingly criticized for its lack of precision.

Because other criteria than weight must be taken into account in order to measure the effect of weight on a person’s health, such as: waist circumference, change in weight or body fat distribution.

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