Being overweight boosts the risk of dying from diabetes and kidney disease but not cancer or heart disease, and carrying some extra pounds actually appears to protect against a host of other causes of death, federal researchers reported yesterday.
The counterintuitive findings, based on a detailed analysis of decades of government data about more than 39,000 Americans, supports the conclusions of a study the same group did two years ago that suggested the dangers of being overweight may be less dire than experts thought.
I've come to believe that most warnings by experts are less dire than thought. I think back about all the things we've been told by this study or that study and realize that usually, within a few years, those warnings are significantly downgraded. Did you have a bran muffing with your eggs today?
The researchers calculated that in 2004, obesity was associated with as many as 112,000 excess deaths from heart disease and more than 45,000 deaths from diabetes and kidney disease. Obesity was not, however, associated with an overall excess in cancer deaths, though it was linked to as many as 19,000 excess deaths from malignancies commonly blamed on fat, including breast, uterine, ovarian, kidney, colon, esophageal and pancreatic cancer.
The most surprising finding was that being overweight but not obese was associated only with excess mortality from diabetes and kidney disease — not from cancer or heart disease. Moreover, the researchers found an apparent protective effect against all other causes of death, such as tuberculosis, emphysema, pneumonia, Alzheimer's disease and injuries. An association between excess weight and nearly 16,000 deaths from diabetes and kidney disease was overshadowed by a reduction of as many as 133,000 deaths from all other deaths unrelated to cancer or heart disease. Even moderately obese people appeared less likely to die of those causes.
Of course the findings are being hotly debated with some calling them "rubbish" and others saying they're really not surprised by the findings. As usual, I'll wait for it all to cool down while more studies are being run to either verify or vilify this one. In the meantime I won't feel quite so guilty tonight if I opt for a slice of French Silk pie after dinner.
My Battle of the Bulge has long since turned into a delaying action. I have given up all hope of victory. I console myself with this newly acquired knowledge that I may at least beat Alzheimer’s, TB, etc. I also have come to believe that since I have to buy new clothes anyway, buying a larger size at least gets me more for my money.