Extra pounds a risk? Not necessarily

From the Associated Press

Being 25 pounds overweight doesn’t appear to raise your risk of dying from cancer or heart disease, says a new government study.

The news isn’t all good: Overweight people do have a higher chance of dying from diabetes and kidney disease. And people who are obese -- generally those more than 30 pounds overweight for their height and with a body-mass index at least 30 -- have a higher risk of death from a variety of illnesses, including some cancers and heart disease.

However, having a little extra weight actually seemed to help people survive some illnesses such as emphysema and pneumonia -- results that baffled several leading health researchers.

The report analyzed specific causes of death along with new mortality figures from 2004 for 2.3 million U.S. adults.

“Excess weight does not uniformly increase the risk of mortality from any and every cause, but only from certain causes,” said the study’s lead author Katherine Flegal, a senior research scientist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


The study, which appears in today’s Journal of the American Medical Assn., analyzed the BMIs of people who died from various diseases.