A Few Extra Pounds may be a Good Thing

June 1st, 2010 | Sources: Wall Street Journal

Obesity is a serious threat to health, but recent research suggests that being 10-15 pounds overweight doesn’t increase health risks and may help in certain circumstances. Here is a summary of these findings:

justdoingmyshareMildly overweight people do not have an increased risk of death from cancer or cardiovascular disease-In a study published in JAMA, Katherine Flegal and colleagues from the CDC looked at mortality rates reported in NHANES, an annual health survey. They found that mortality among those classified as overweight was lower than they had estimated. By contrast, those classified as underweight and obese had higher mortality rates than had been predicted.

Another study of 9,000 people conducted in Australia showed a reduced risk of death among septuagenarians who were overweight when compared to those of normal weight. The scientists concluded a little extra weight could protect folks against illness and injury as they age.

A little extra weight appears to protect against osteoporosis in women-Scientists who have reported this suggest that estrogen, produced by subcutaneous fat, helps increase bone mass. “Women should not worry if they are 10 to 15 pounds overweight, particularly if the fat is not concentrated in [the] belly,” Felicia Cosman, director of National Osteoporosis Foundation told the Wall Street Journal.

Slightly overweight women tend to look younger-According to a study in last year’s Archives of Dermatology, older women who were a bit overweight looked younger because the subcutaneous fat combats sagging and wrinkles.

The key is the location of the fat. Subcutaneous fat, common in the mildly overweight, tends to appear on the hips, thighs and butt. It is benign physiologically. Visceral fat attaches to internal organs and causes protruded bellies. It increases the risk of diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease.


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