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Doctors across the land probably sighed in despair when the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study came out, resigned to their patients saying, “So, the government says it’s OK to be fat.”
Well, sort of, maybe, yes.
Confirming an earlier study, the researchers found that being moderately overweight actually seemed to protect against a range of health risks, with fat people having lower death rates than the underweight from lung diseases, infections, injuries, and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. The risks of dying from heart disease and cancer are about the same, although being overweight does boost the chances of expiring from diabetes and kidney disease.
The findings were not quite so good for the obese, who do, in fact, have much higher death rates from heart disease, cardiovascular disease, obesity-related cancer, diabetes and kidney disease.
What this suggests is that the dangers of being fat, like two-thirds of U.S. adults are, have been exaggerated, while the perils of being obese, which one-third of adults are, have not.
Health officials note that there are other considerations to being fat, like mobility and quality of life, than just hoping to beat the morbidity tables.
Studies regularly seem to come out that find something we always thought was bad for us really isn’t — and visa versa — but it’s probably not a good idea to plan your life around that happening.