Healthiest weight just might be ‘overweight’ | Science News

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Healthiest weight just might be ‘overweight’

Long-term study in Denmark suggests that optimum body mass index is on the rise

6:32pm, May 11, 2016
person on scale

FAT CHANCE The body mass index, or BMI, associated with lowest risk of death now falls within the “overweight” category, according to an almost four-decade study of more than 100,000 adults in Denmark.

Packing on a few pounds may not be such a bad thing.

As a group, overweight people are living the longest nowadays, suggests an almost four-decade study in Denmark published May 10 in JAMA. And obese people seem to be at no higher risk of dying than those of normal weight. The new analysis fuels ongoing debate about what’s a healthy body mass index — especially in light of rising obesity rates (SN: 5/14/16, p. 5), improved heart health treatments and other factors influencing health and longevity.

“This is a very carefully done study,” says Rexford Ahima, a physician who studies endocrine disorders at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. The findings strengthen the notion that “BMI as a number alone may not be sufficient to predict health and risk of

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