Overweight People Live— Longer?

by Ryan Halvorson on Apr 01, 2013

Making News

If you were asked to visualize a model of longevity, would you picture someone overweight? Probably not. However, new research suggests that people who carry extra pounds could have a lower all-cause mortality risk than normal-weight people.

In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (2013; 309 [1], 71–82), researchers measured body mass index in 2.88 million people. The goal was “to perform a systematic review of reported hazard ratios of all-cause mortality for overweight and obesity relative to normal weight in the general population,” the authors explained.

They classified BMI into five categories: overweight (BMI of 25<30), obesity (BMI of ≥30), grade 1 obesity (BMI of 30<35), grades 2 and 3 obesity (BMI of ≥35) and normal weight (BMI of 18.5<25).

The findings?

Compared with normal weight, obesity (all grades combined) was associated with an 18% higher risk of all-cause mortality. That increased to a 29% higher risk for grades 2 and 3 obesity. On average, however, the overweight group had a 6% lower risk of mortality than the normal-weight group. And those in the grade 1 obesity group had a 5% lower risk than those in the normal-weight group.

“Relative to normal weight, both obesity (all grades) and grades 2 and 3 obesity were associated with significantly higher all-cause mortality,” the authors reported. However, “grade 1 obesity overall was not associated with higher mortality, and overweight was associated with significantly lower all-cause mortality.”

The authors did not look into why overweight and slightly obese people had lower mortality rates than normal-weight individuals.

What are your thoughts on this study? Sound off to

IDEA Fitness Journal, Volume 10, Issue 4

© 2013 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Author

Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson IDEA Author/Presenter

Ryan Halvorson is the associate editor for IDEA Health & Fitness Association; a Performance Specialist at Bird Rock Fit in La Jolla, CA; a Master Instructor for Metabolic Effect and the creator of www...


Trending Articles

How to Teach HIIT to Everyone

High-intensity interval training has been riding a wave of popularity, and it seems everyone wants to give it a try. However, intense interval training is nothing new. Group fitness instructors have b...

Mindful Walking

Walking can be more than just moving physically from one location to another. It can be a metaphor for your larger life journey. Things you&...

20 IDEA World-Renowned Presenters Share Advice on Success and Happiness

We asked some of this year’s most influential and motivating IDEA World Fitness Convention™ presenters to share the single piece of advice they would give another fitness/health pro to hel...

Yes, You CAN Develop Better Eating Habits

Analogous to laying out your exercise gear so it’s the first visual reminder you have of your commitment to exercise each day, imagine...

Smooth Move: Creative Additions to Consider for Smoothies

When looking for a quick breakfast or post-workout nourishment, almost nothing beats a smoothie. Whirl in the right ingredients and the blen...

Cut Risk of Alzheimer’s with MIND Diet

Conservative adherence to a new diet, appropriately known by the acronym MIND, could significantly lower a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to a paper published o...

Nuts and Peanuts Reduce Cardiovascular Risk and Prolong Lifespan

While there have been numerous studies in recent years touting the health benefits of nuts and peanuts, new research published online March ...

7 Ways to Help a Client Boost Adherence

Once a client has decided to make nutritional changes to support weight loss, you can play a key role in developing an action plan that is m...

Recipe for Health: Picadillo-Stuffed Peppers

If you don’t believe that authentic Mexican cookery is “whole” and healthy, you need to take a deep dive into Mexico: The Cookbook (Phaidon 2014), the first truly comprehensive bible...

Low Intensity vs. High Intensity: Which Is Best for Obese Adults?

The debate continues regarding the most effective exercise measures for reducing abdominal obesity and improving glucose measures.

Show More