Remember that study from a few years ago that said being overweight or slightly obese won’t affect how long you live, and that carrying some extra pounds may actually lower your risk of death by about 6%? We're sure if you have any overweight pals or relatives, they let you hear all about it to justify that extra plate of pie at Thanksgiving or taking a king-size bag of Reese’s Pieces to the movies.
Well, as some scientists warned when it came out, it seems to be a bunch of rubbish. A new study, this one from the Boston University School of Public Health, says that holding on to a few more pounds is associated—which makes much more sense—with a decrease in a person’s life span. Researchers took a deep dive on three large studies that covered over 225,000 people and checked for all-cause and specific causes of death over a 16-year span that were linked to being overweight or obese.
“Having a history of being overweight or obese is linked to an increased risk for death from any cause,” said senior study author Andrew Stokes, Ph.D., an assistant professor of global health at Boston University. “Prior studies showing an association between overweight people and lower mortality carried the risk of reverse causation bias—in other words, the conditions leading to death are what might have caused the lower BMI, rather than the lower BMI causing death. By using maximum BMI in the context of an extended weight history, we were able to address the problem of reverse causation.”
So there you have it: Being overweight is not some fantastical way to extend your life, it’s just the opposite says this new, and better received, analysis. So, how about putting down that big crinkly bag of denial you’re clinging to on the couch, looking up some beginner Men’s Fitness workouts, and shaving off some pounds and putting a few years back on your life?