Obesity and health: Fat years | The Economist: "BEING fat is bad for you. That, at least, is the received wisdom. In reality the picture is more complex, because the prevailing measure of fatness, weight in kilograms divided by height in metres squared, known as the body-mass index (BMI), is imperfect and because bad for you is a vague term. According to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association(JAMA), being a bit too pudgy may in fact reduce the risk of dying in a given period. Researchers, led by Katherine Flegal of Americas Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, examined nearly 100 studies of more than 2.9m people and 270,000 deaths. Being overweight is defined as having a BMI between 25 and 30. People with a BMI of 30 or more are considered obese. Dr Flegal and her colleagues observed that obesity was associated with a higher risk of mortality in a given study period. Interestingly, those who were only moderately obese (with a BMI of 30-35) had a 5% lower risk of death than those of normal weight and those who were merely overweight had a 6% lower risk. The mortality risk was much higher for those with BMI of 35 or above—they had a 29% higher risk of death in a given period than those of normal weight."
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