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Older adults live longer with a few extra pounds -- if they don't add more
Date:9/19/2013

economic factors that may play a role in both weight and mortality among Americans. The researchers also controlled for whether the respondents smoked, whether they had a variety of chronic illnesses and even how they rated their own health. The results stood even after all of these factors were taken into account.

Why is being slightly overweight protective for older people?

"It is probably because the older population is more likely to get illnesses and disease, especially cancer, that cause dangerous weight loss," he said. "In that case, a small amount of extra weight may provide protection against nutritional and energy deficiencies, metabolic stresses, the development of wasting and frailty, and loss of muscle and bone density caused by chronic diseases."

Younger people are less likely to get many of the diseases that afflict older adults, which is one reason extra weight is not good for them, he said.

But Zheng said the main message for everyone, including older adults, is that packing on the pounds, especially if you're obese, can be hazardous to your health.

"Continuing to put on weight can lower your life expectancy," he said.


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Contact: Hui Zheng
Zheng.64@sociology.osu.edu
614-688-8348
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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