News / Health

Extra Pounds Linked to Death from all Causes

Risk also rises for those who are considered to be underweight

Overweight people more than double their risk of dying. Underweight people also face dangers.
Overweight people more than double their risk of dying. Underweight people also face dangers.

Multimedia

Audio
Art Chimes

The fatter you are, the more likely you are to die from heart attack, stroke and certain cancers, according to a new study.

Body Mass Index, or BMI, is a number that roughly measures how fat a person is. The new research finds that deaths from all causes go up as BMI increases.

Experts consider a BMI in the range of about 19 to 25 as representing normal weight, and that's about the range where the death rate is lowest.

"So we found that the BMI associated with the lowest risk of death was between about 20 and 25, and that the risk of death increased with increasing BMI," says Amy Berrington of the U.S. National Cancer Institute. "The people in the highest BMI category, which was over about 40, had a two-and-a-half times higher risk than those in the normal BMI range."

Berrington is the lead author of a new paper describing the analysis of death rates and BMI. Death rates go up as BMI numbers increase into the overweight and obese ranges. They also increase, though less so, as BMI decreases into numbers considered underweight.

Age is also a factor. Berrington found that BMI increases have more of a negative impact on middle aged people than on the elderly.

"The older people, the 70 year old, would obviously have a higher risk of dying than the 40 to 50 year old. But the increased risk for dying for the 70 year old was lower than for the 40 to 50 year old," says Berrington.

The massive study included data on almost 1.5 million non-Hispanic white Americans. So one might wonder if the same conclusions would apply to non-whites, or to people living in developing countries. That's a particular concern as Western lifestyles are increasingly adapted elsewhere. Berrington says only that more research is needed.

"We certainly have other studies underway where we want to study it because there is some existing evidence which suggests that the relationship may be different for other ethnic and racial groups."

Amy Berrington's paper on the link between BMI and death rates from all causes is published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

You May Like

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid