Yes, you did read that headline correctly. No, we are not just trolling you here. The Huffington Post recently featured an article from The Oprah Magazine about how being overweight can actually lead to an increased life-span. Sure, we aren’t all as fit as we would like, but even we are constantly striving for ways to slim down, tone up, and live a ‘healthier lifestyle.’ The entire focus of our site is encouraging a healthy lifestyle. This new research though, while not completely dismissing our purpose, is certainly game-changing.
The Journal of the American Medical Association published research earlier this year that found that being overweight is linked to a lower mortality rate. The journal article was actually covered back in January when Time picked up the story but it didn’t seem to gain widespread attention until late last week. While we would love to chock the whole article up to coincidence, there seems to be some pretty startling facts all pointing towards overweight people outliving their ‘normal weight’ counterparts.
Now we are a health and wellness publication, so we do need to step in on certain points. Huffington Post (and pretty much everyone everywhere) notes that BMI is probably not the best way of determining if someone is overweight, and if that’s the case, then it kind of defeats the whole point of their findings. A Body Mass Index (BMI) is currently the most widely accepted measure of a person’s weight categorization. You can easily calculate your BMI by just entering your height and weight, which in itself is a little frightening. As anyone will tell you, weight is not everything. Muscle weighs more than fat, and fat distribution is extremely important. Following BMI guidelines, most college athletes who are in ‘great shape’ would be considered overweight if not obese.
There are some places where we can definitely agree with the research though. The Huffpost piece notes that body fat can be protective when a person is sick. Fat hormones do have anti-inflammatory agents that can help fight disease, and also allows a person more energy, since it is literally stored. If a sick person gets a bad illness they may not have much as far as stored nutrients to help them remain lively as well.
So this study is definitely to be taken with a grain of salt. We wouldn’t say to put down the dumbbells and trade the salad for a big mac, but maybe it’s time to have less of a focus on your weight, and more on enjoying life itself.