The Obesity Paradox: Measuring Body Mass can be Confusing

Image courtesy of dailymail.co.uk
Image courtesy of dailymail.co.uk

An article in Reuters Health recently reported on a study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that seems to confirm "the obesity paradox".  The obesity paradox suggests that overweight and obese people - even those with additional health problems - live longer than their thinner counterparts   In a review of almost 100 past studies covering nearly three million people, researchers found that being overweight or slightly obese was linked to about a 6 percent lower risk of dying, compared to people considered "normal weight."

Being severely obese, however, was still tied to an almost 30 percent higher risk of death.

"This is actually the common finding," said the new study's lead author Katherine Flegal, a senior scientist from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Hyattsville, Maryland.

The researchers, who published their results in the Journal of the American Medical Association, used data from past studies, and classified the risks according to BMI (Body Mass Index) categories accepted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

The software that powers AgeMe also uses the WHO categories for BMI.   This ensures a reliable and well-recognized standard for users who choose to add the weight gain option when completing their aging.