Waistline spread, a nagging problem of middle age, could be a sign of health and an indication of a long life, a Purdue University nutrition expert says.
"Recent studies indicate that if you want to live a long time, your weight should increase as much as 20% as you get older," says R. Paul Abernathy, head of Purdue University's Department of Food and Nutrition.
Gaining some weight during middle age is normal, he said. "The weight of an average man increases about 17% between his 20s and 40s. Women generally gain even more."
Reubin Andres, clinical director of the Gerontology Research Center of the National Institute of Aging, analyzed insurance data and concluded this year that desirable weights increase with age. After age 20, almost any normal lean person can put on about one pound a year, Abernathy said.