A meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association
found that being mildly overweight (Grade 1 obesity or having a body mass index [BMI] of 30-<35) is not associated with higher mortality, and that being overweight is associated with a decrease in all-cause mortality.
These results have created a firestorm of controversy, but I have long taken issue with the notion that simply being overweight, as indicated by BMI tables based on ideal heights and weight, makes people unhealthy.
In fact, being too lean may compromise health and longevity. Simply stated, it is better to be fit and fat than lean and not fit.
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I do not suggest that overweight people just accept being fat without taking action – obesity remains a known risk factor for chronic illness such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis and certain forms of cancer.
But if you are somewhat overweight and cannot maintain the ideal weight of actuarial tables, I think you should focus less on numbers like BMI and concentrate more on maintaining optimum health by eating right and keeping physically active.
-- With Marti Lotman
Andrew Weil, M.D., is founder and director, Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the College of Medicine, University of Arizona, and Director of Integrative Health and Healing, Miraval Resort. He is a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, which combines conventional medicine with alternative approaches. He received his medical degree from Harvard University. His new book is True Food: Seasonal, Sustainable, Simple, Pure.
To see Dr. Weil's website, click here.
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