Underweight People at Greater Risk of Death Than Overweight People

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It’s said you can never be too rich or too thin, but new research suggests otherwise. People who are clinically underweight face an even higher risk for dying than obese individuals, the study shows.

Compared to normal-weight folks, the excessively thin have nearly twice the risk of death, researchers concluded after reviewing more than 50 prior studies.

Obesity has occupied center stage under the public health spotlight, but “we have [an] obligation to ensure that we avoid creating an epidemic of underweight adults and fetuses who are otherwise at the correct weight,” said study leader Dr. Joel Ray, a physician-researcher at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

The findings appear in the March 28 issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Public Health.

Studies included in the analysis followed people for five years or more and focused on associations between BMI (body-mass index, a key indicator of healthy weight) and fatalities related to any cause.

Ray’s team also looked at how death rates related to weight patterns among newborns and stillborns.

Underweight patients of all ages (those with a BMI of 18.5 or under) were found to face a 1.8 times greater risk for dying than patients with a normal BMI (between 18.5 and 25.9), the study found.

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SOURCE: WebMD News from HealthDay
Alan Mozes

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