Some Extra Heft May Be Helpful, New Study Says

Gina Kolata in The New York Times:

People who are overweight but not obese have a lower risk of death than those of normal weight, federal researchers are reporting today. The researchers – statisticians and epidemiologists from the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – also found that increased risk of death from obesity was seen for the most part in the extremely obese, a group constituting only 8 percent of Americans. And being very thin, even though the thinness was longstanding and unlikely to stem from disease, caused a slight increase in the risk of death, the researchers said.

“I love it,” said Dr. Steven Blair, president and chief executive of the Cooper Institute, a research and educational organization in Dallas that focuses on preventive medicine. “There are people who have made up their minds that obesity and overweight are the biggest public health problem that we have to face,” Dr. Blair said. “These numbers show that maybe it’s not that big.”

More here.