Is extra weight protective against disease? No

Watching the headlines versus watching one’s weight

You may have heard that a recent study published in March 2013 in the Journal of the American Medical Association has concluded that being overweight is protective against death.  How can this be accurate?  The answer: It isn’t.

Where did the researchers err?  First, they included smokers in the study even though people who smoke are at a disproportionately higher risk for many life-threatening illnesses and early death.  However, the smokers in this study were unevenly distributed between the normal-weight group and the overweight group of participants, with the normal-weight group having more smokers than the overweight group  Thus, the normal-weight group appeared to have a higher risk of death associated with it compared to the overweight group.

Second, the researchers included in their study individuals who were at advanced stages of disease.  People who are at advanced stages of disease tend to have lower body weights as a result of their illness. Once again, the normal-weight group was stacked with people who were already at an advanced stage of disease and at a greater risk of death.

What does all of this mean for you?  Carrying extra bodyweight is not protective against disease. In fact, being overweight with a Body Mass Index greater than 25 is associated with increased risk for diabetes, gallstones, hypertension, colon cancer, and heart disease. This is your call to action: Prevent a multitude of diseases with diet and exercise.  For help with your diet and exercise goals, come to The University Health Clinic.  Now is your time to set up an appointment with us; we accept all major health insurance plans.  Don’t hesitate, call us today!


About the author

Primary Care Doctor at Seattle's University Health Clinic

As a naturopathic primary care physician, Dr. Justin Steurich sees all patients with all conditions.  His clinical interests lie in working with patients with heart problems, diabetes, gastrointestinal disease, and muscle and joint pain.  He is dedicated to patient education and will spend time helping you understand your problems and your options.

Dr.Steurich is currently seeing new patients and accepts most insurance plans.

Call The University Health Clinic at (206) 525-8015 to make an appointment today.



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