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When you hear the word “overweight” the first image that might pop up in your head might be that of an unhealthy person in one or more ways. However, if the findings of a new study are to be believed, overweight people might actually live longer than healthier people.
Here, “overweight” or “healthy” (“underweight” and “obese” also) is strictly defined by the Body Mass Index (BMI) of a person. BMI is the ratio of one’s weight to one’s height and this ratio, for years, has been the metric for the healthy weight. That may not be true for long.
This study was conducted by Børge Nordestgaard from Copenhagen University Hospital and analyzed a massive amount of data: medical records of 100,000 adults from Denmark that have been collected over the span of four decades.
The study clearly shows that 27 BMI (a number which lies between 25 and 29.9, a range that is categorized as “overweight“) is now associated with the lowest risk of death. Before this study, the magic number was 23.7 which lies in the “healthy” category of BMI ranging from 18.5 to 24.9. What’s more interesting is perhaps the fact that some people in “obese” category (over 30 BMI) had the same risk of death as those in the ‘normal’ range.
What makes this research all that more interesting is the fact that it has the potential to change the status of Body Mass Index as a health proxy. In fact, this study clearly shows that an individual can lead a healthy life even if their BMI doesn’t fall in the “normal” category.
Studies like this are needed to make sure that those working in the medical field are aware of the factors that are directly involved with the health of an individual so that the general medical care can improve with the advances in technology.
The research has been published in JAMA.