Thursday, December 02, 2010

"A small increased risk of death . . . " (UPDATED)

Lugging around a few extra pounds? One of the largest studies to look at health and weight finds that you don't have to be obese to raise your risk of premature death. Merely being overweight carries some risk, too.

Obesity increases the risk of death from heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. But whether being merely overweight contributes to an early death as well has been uncertain and controversial. Some research has suggested being a little pudgy has little effect or can even be a good thing.

The latest research involving about 1.5 million people concluded that healthy white adults who were overweight were 13 percent more likely to die during the time they were followed in the study than those whose weight is in an ideal range.

-From an AP article published today on Yahoo News. The study in question was just published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The article quotes the "lead author" of the study, Amy Barrington of the National Cancer Institute as follows:

"Now there's really a very large body of evidence which supports the finding that being overweight is associated with a small increased risk of death."

UPDATE: Under what circumstances is "small increased risk" acceptable or tolerable? Humanitarian work in Port-au-Prince, orphan rescue in the Sudan, quarterbacking student lunch programs in the Kenyan highlands, treating AIDS patients, carrying the Gospel to the Muslim world all come to mind. But eating a hamburger?

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