Study Suggests Overweight People Live Longer

By Adam Chick

January 2, 2013 Updated Jan 2, 2013 at 8:10 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A new study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association supposedly shows that those who are considered overweight actually have a lower mortality rate than those who are considered to be normal weight.

The study done by Katherine Flegal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deals mostly in terms of BMI, or Body Mass Index. It claims that people who are considered overweight actually have a six percent lower mortality rate than those who are considered normal weight.

But this data only takes BMI into consideration, which makes some very critical of the findings in this study.

"Body mass index is really not taking into account any of the other factors such as family history, cholesterol, fitness level, anything like that," said Kristina Delviscio, who is certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine and works at Riverwalk Athletic Club.

At first glance the NPR headline of Research: A Little Extra Fat May Help You Live Longer might suggest that it's beneficial to rock those love handles.

"People are going to right away see that, 'Oh, slightly overweight, I'm going to be healthier. And that's the message that is coming across," said Delviscio.

Personal trainer Anthony Campo says this is misleading. Extra fat doesn't equal extra health. But don't confuse gaining weight with gaining fat. According to health experts, adding weight in the form of muscle is very beneficial.

"Putting on lean mass improves many things in your body. Your insulin sensitivity, which can lead to things like better triglycerides, better cholesterol," said Campo.

BMI is a formula that takes into consideration only your height and weight, but no other health factors such as smoking or health problems. Personal trainers say it isn't a good way to measure your overall health. Take Campo for example, an athlete in peak physical condition weighing 200 pounds at ten percent body fat.

"With the BMI with me, I'm actually not even considered overweight, I'm considered obese," said Campo.

With the new year comes many resolutions to be more fit. You should contact your doctor before beginning any kind of training to make sure you are healthy enough to partake in strenuous activities.

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