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Many Deemed Obese Are Healthier: Who is at Risk From Being Overweight?

Being Overweight

As strange as it may sound, and contrary to what the media blasts at us on a daily basis, the thinner you are is not always the better. On the contrary, a few extra pounds are actually good for you, though more than that is never recommended.

Of course, the latest study on the subject covered yesterday found that this was the case for people over 50. In a nationwide US study it was found that being slightly overweight in your 50s means that you may very well live 16 years longer. No joke. This is the gift nature gives only if you manage to keep your weight relatively stable, however, as mentioned. Fluctuating up and down will never do you any good, no matter how old a person may be.

Now, one shouldn’t start thinking that the body will survive anything. According to Hui Zheng, sociology professor at Ohio State University and lead author on this particular study, being terribly overweight while still in the 50s and seeing an increase in weight over time will only kill a person during that time period. 7.2 percent of deaths in those over 51 who are obese are related to weight gain.

We know now that a bit of weight gain in our 50s and over is a good thing, but another question comes to mind. What about the youngsters?

When it comes to the younger generations, on the other hand, being overweight is most definitely not recommended. Funny enough Zheng’s past study had found that being slightly overweight protects three classes of people: the elderly, black men and those living within the poorest income stratum. Obesity becomes especially deadly in whites, educated upperclassmen or those in the middle classes with sizeable incomes.

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Well, we know it`s not a good idea to have much in extra fat, but a little bit around the waist, adding to your love handles and hips, might not be so bad of an idea.

The UK's Daily Mail was kind enough to mention a while ago just why having some meat on the body is actually important for the body.

• Fat Fights Infections: Yes, it does. When our immune system is battling infections, the body is consuming quite a bit of its energy. Hence, prolonged sicknesses cause people to lose weight by the buckets. As such, a bit of extra fat means the body has more energy to pull on the punching gloves and ward off diseases.

• Shield around organs: Doctors always warn about diseases arising from having extra fat, but that little bit might actually be protecting your organs from such diseases as cholesterol and high blood pressure. Too much will actually cause the diseases to take root, but the body has a certain fat-holding capacity and will store it so long as the amount doesn`t surpass the space reserved for it.

• Fat to Lose Weight? Well that’s quite a shocker. There are actually two types of fat: the white is what we can’t shake off no matter how hard we try, and the brown fat is actually dietary, where 50 grams of it will burn 500 calories for you. Babies have lots of brown fat, but it declines with age and barely around after the age of 35.

Thus, it’s not necessary to kill yourself at the gym or starve for days on end to achieve that perfect body. If you want to be healthy, keep some of that extra bit around your midriff, especially if you have passed or neared the age of 50. Just make sure there are no fluctuations in weight.

Image source: Tony Alter, used under CC License.