Overweight people may live longer
Itís probably a safe bet that nearly everyone who has a New Yearís resolution at this time of year can somehow relate it to their weight or health, and I often feel at this time of year, the number of articles and advertisements preaching quick fixes and pushing the skinny-is-better attitude is a bit overwhelming.
Of course we all want to be healthy (and beautiful). But buying into some of the fads, only to drop that fad and go back to the same old habits by spring, while expecting some kind of life-altering results, isnít logical.
When I came across an article last week that someone shared on Facebook saying new research is showing that overweight people have a significantly lower risk of premature death than people with a normal weight, I was kind of taken aback. I even had to re-read the headline a couple times to make sure I understood it right.
The results of the study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, stated that people with a body mass index between 25 and 30, which is considered overweight, were about six per cent less likely to die a premature death compared to those who fell in the 18.5 to 24.9 range.
The study also found that people who are considered obese have a similar incidence of premature death than those in the normal range. Although those statistics are somewhat surprising, it isnít surprising that people who are grossly obese are 29 per cent more likely to die prematurely than their lighter counterparts.
Iím a pretty staunch believer that quick fixes and fad diets that seriously restrict a person are not the way to become healthy. Losing weight is often important to maintain a personís health, but being healthy requires a long-term lifestyle commitment, not the newest fitness DVD.
At the same time, I am only human, and I most certainly have my fair share of days where I wish I lived a much healthier lifestyle and could fit into a smaller size of jeans. But, I also enjoy going to the gym. I really donít feel itís a burden to lace up my runners and take part in a fitness class. Actually, I love it.
Iím certainly not in great shape, but when regular exercise isnít part of my weekly routine, I miss it. I also donít have the best eating habits, and when I overindulge on chips and chocolate, I feel it and then I try to make a conscious effort to eat a bit better.
Despite hitting the gym regularly, thinking about what I eat, and being conscious of living a healthy lifestyle, I still find myself falling in the ďoverweightĒ category with a BMI that is over 25. My goal was always to try to bring it down to about a 25, but now Iím wondering if maybe evolution is working in my favour after reading the results of that report.
The change over the years from eating home-cooked meals and locally grown foods to processed and fast foods brought in from another continent, along with an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, helped create a society that was overweight. But the human race has survived plagues, and other epidemics, and I guess maybe itís not so surprising that we are finding ways to adapt to our thicker waistlines too.
But, as much as the results of the article are interesting, Iím not going to interpret them as many people might choose to do. One critic pointed out that healthy people are often grouped in the overweight category because they have more muscle mass, and that makes sense to me.
I certainly donít believe being overweight and unhealthy is going to make me live longer than someone who is adamant about eating their fruits and veggies. But if by chance it does make me live longer, itís not going to make me live happier, which is maybe the key.
Perhaps the secret to success is living a life that is balanced and maybe living longer isnít only related to your weight, but also to your happiness. Maybe the people who fall within the 25 to 30 BMI range have discovered a secret to success Ė live a healthy lifestyle, think about what youíre eating, but if you really want to indulge in those peanut-butter-marshmallowy-butterscotch squares over Christmas holidays, do it, and enjoy it - just make sure you hit the gym after.
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