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Look around your office, on the streets, in restaurants and even at the gym and you’ll see overweight people everywhere. It appears that being overweight is almost expected now and the numbers of overweight people are growing. But is this really ok?

50 years ago it was unusual to see an overweight person and almost unheard of to see anyone obese. However in the current society we live in, it’s almost accepted that we’ll be overweight, fat and out of shape. The rate at which this trend is growing is worrying. And it’s not limited to older or middle-aged people either, even young adults, teenagers and children are becoming overweight.

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Clearly, it is now socially acceptable to be overweight, and you’ll often hear gasps of horror when you tell people you regularly go to the gym or that you went out and didn't drink, and prepare for people asking if you’re feeling okay when you pick a steak and salad at dinner and pass on dessert, while everyone else gorges on mountains of junk food.

While on the face of it, you may think that being overweight is a health hazard, can lead to early death and a whole host of diseases, it may not be quite so clear cut as that.

A recent research project from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention actually found that being overweight may actually increase your life expectancy.

That’s right – increase it. Not cause you to die at 45 from cancer, heart disease or diabetes, but help you live longer. Here’s what the research showed.

What The Research Said

Researchers took just under 100 studies from all over the world that between them covered around 3 million adults. They took a note of the participants’ BMIs (Body Mass Index – this is a measure of weight to height ratio. To find your BMI, divide your weight in kilograms, by your height in meters squared.) They found that -

Compared to people of a normal weight (BMI between 18.5 and 24.99)

- Extremely obese people (BMI>35) had a 29% increased risk of early death.
- Obese people in general (from moderate to severe obesity) had an 18% risk of early death.
- Overweight people (BIM between 25 and 29.99) had a 6% lower risk of early death.

You might be thinking –

“Wow, so it’s okay to go and eat whatever I want a get a little out of shape. Provided I don’t go to the extreme levels of obesity, I can relax – eat some cake, drop down my gym time and actually live a bit longer.)

Not so fast. While the research figures may sound hugely enticing and it is easy to take them at face value, it’s not quite as simple as that. There were a number of flaws in the study and several aspects that weren’t taken into consideration.

Here’s why it may still not be okay to be overweight.

Continue reading after recommendations

  • “Weight A Minute: Being Overweight is OK?”, By Pamela Peeke, Published on January 8, 2013, Accessed on March 10th, 2013, Retrieved from http://blogs.webmd.com/pamela-peeke-md/2013/01/weight-a-minute-being-overweight-is-ok.html
  • Photo courtesy of 55158656@N06 on Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/55158656@N06/6938248587

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