A new study conducted by researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder reveals that excess weight or obesity can increase the risk of death by anywhere from 22% to 91%, which is much more than previously believed. The study, published in the journal Population Studies, analysed data from nearly 18,000 people and challenges the “obesity paradox,” which suggests that those in the “overweight” category have lower mortality risk. The research shows that elevated BMI generally raises mortality risk, and there are no survival benefits to being overweight.
Mortality risk!.. The study also found that the mortality risk of being slightly underweight had likely been overestimated. The research counters the prevailing wisdom that excess weight boosts mortality risk only in extreme cases and sheds light on the pitfalls of using body mass index (BMI) to study health outcomes, which can potentially bias findings. BMI, which doctors and scientists often use as a health measure, is based on weight and height only and doesn’t account for differences in body composition or how long a person has been overweight.
The researchers mined the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 1988 to 2015, looking at data from 17,784 people, including 4,468 deaths. The study discovered that a full 20% of the sample characterised as “healthy” weight had been in the overweight or obese category in the decade prior. When set apart, this group had a substantially worse health profile than those in the category whose weight had been stable.
The study's author, Ryan Masters, said he hopes the research will alert scientists to be “extremely cautious” when making conclusions based on BMI. But he also hopes the work will draw attention to what he sees not as a problem for individuals alone to solve but rather a public health crisis fueled by an unhealthy or “obesogenic” environment in the U.S.
According to the study, excess weight or obesity is related to about 1 in 6 U.S. deaths, and the findings indicate that the health risks of being overweight have been significantly underestimated. The research shows that there are no safe levels of obesity or overweight, and that even slightly elevated BMI can increase mortality risk. The study highlights the need for a better understanding of the relationship between weight, health, and mortality risk, and the limitations of BMI as a measure of health.
Results: The study's results have important implications for public health policies and interventions aimed at reducing obesity rates. The findings suggest that efforts to promote healthy weight should focus on both preventing excessive weight gain and encouraging weight loss among those who are overweight or obese. The study underscores the urgent need for effective public health strategies to address the “obesogenic” environment that contributes to the obesity epidemic in the U.S.
In conclusion, the study by researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder challenges the prevailing wisdom that excess weight boosts mortality risk only in extreme cases and sheds light on the pitfalls of using BMI to study health outcomes. The study highlights the need for a better understanding of the relationship between weight, health, and mortality risk, and underscores the urgent need for effective public health strategies to address the obesity epidemic in the U.S.