Overweight: The New Healthy?

Overweight: The New Healthy?

Reported January 15, 2009

CHARLESTON, S.C. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — It’s an ever-growing number — 66 percent of adults in the United States are overweight or obese, but, finally, there’s some good news for those who are carrying around just a few extra pounds. New research shows being moderately overweight may actually be good for you.

Tracey Posess is a mother of five and a frequent gym-goer. She’s toned and muscular, but at 163 pounds and with a body mass index (BMI) of 26.5, Posess is considered overweight.

“I don’t think I’m overweight,” Posess told Ivanhoe.

A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal weight, and 25 to 29.9 is overweight. A BMI greater than 30 is obese. Though no one wants to be labeled overweight, new research shows overweight people live longer than underweight, normal weight and obese people. The study found overweight people have a lower risk of death overall and from infections, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and lung disease.

“The news, I think, hopefully will allow people to breathe a sigh of relief,” Joshua Brown, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, S.C., told Ivanhoe.

But some say this research isn’t enough to redefine overweight as healthy.



“It only speaks to the likelihood of dying from particular causes,” Patrick O’Neil, Ph.D., director of the Weight Management Center at the Medical University of South Carolina, told Ivanhoe. “It does not address health status. It does not address quality of life.”

Another recent study showed about half of overweight people have normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

“It does reiterate to folks who may be in the overweight range that they are not necessarily unhealthy,” Dr. Brown said.

Posess says the news is refreshing.

“If they are showing it, then I’m thrilled to hear it,” Posess said. “I feel comfortable.”

Experts say the overweight people most likely to be healthy are those who are regular exercisers and have normal health checks, including ones for blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

National Heart Lung and Blood Institute