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Boomers and BMI

Baby Boomers who border on pudgy when entering middle age may have more to worry about than just fitting into their designer jeans. A recent study says being even a little bit overweight can shorten your life.

Reporting in the online version of The New England Journal of Medicine in August, researchers examined BMI as it related to the risk of death from any cause in more than 500,000 men and women. The subjects—enrolled in a cohort study conducted by the National Institutes of Health and AARP—were 50–71 years old when the study began in 1995–1996. Relative risks were adjusted for age, race/ethnicity, education level, smoking history, physical activity level and alcohol intake.

The initial analysis of all study participants showed an increased risk of death for men and women with the highest and lowest BMIs, regardless of their race, ethnic group or age. However, when the analysis was restricted to healthy people who had never smoked, the risk of death was 20%–40% higher among those who were overweight and a whopping two to three times higher for those who were obese.

“Excess body weight during midlife, including overweight, is associated with an increased risk of death,” the study authors concluded.


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