Carrying extra weight could be healthier for older people

Older people with a BMI (body mass index) in the overweight range live longer, according to the results of a new study.

Deakin University’s professor of nutrition and ageing, Caryl Nowson, led a research team that looked at the relationship between BMI and risk of death in people aged 65 years and older. They found that the lowest risk of death was among those with a BMI of around 27.5, which is considered overweight according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines; and mortality was significantly increased in those with a BMI between 22 and 23, which is in the normal weight range. The results of the study, published in the April issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggest that current BMI recommendations may not be suitable for older adults.

“It is time to reassess the healthy weight guidelines for older people,” Professor Nowson said. “Our results showed that those over the age of 65 with a BMI of between 23 and 33 lived longer, indicating that the ideal body weight for older people is significantly higher than the recommended 18.5—25 ‘normal’ healthy weight range.” Via Carrying extra weight could be healthier for older people.

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