Doctor: Study on weight loss doesn’t mean it’s OK to be overweight

Resolutions for 2013 written on notepad

It’s not a good idea to scrap your New Year’s weight loss resolutions.

Recent findings found a lower mortality risk for overweight people. But ADC doctors say the study is not specific enough to say you should be overweight.

About the study

The study’s findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Researchers wanted to see how weight affected mortality. So they analyzed almost 100 articles, which included nearly 3 million people worldwide.

The study found that people who were obese overall had a greater risk of death. But the study also found that people at the lowest obesity level – those with a BMI of 30 to 34.9 – did not have a greater mortality risk than people at normal weight.

And people who were categorized as overweight – BMI of 25 to 30 – actually had a lower mortality risk than normal weight people.

Putting it in perspective

Dr. Hien Tran, ADC endocrinologist, says the findings are interesting and raise questions about the link between weight and longevity. But she says many more studies need to be done to draw definitive conclusions.

“I don’t think the study was a great study.  Having said that, it does bring up an interesting observation about weight and mortality,” she said.

“There’s so much variation (among the study references) regarding demographics, countries studied – we don’t know if all the people included had access to good or even adequate health care ,” Dr. Tran said. “[The study authors] don’t tell you what the studies they used in their analysis were really studying. It’s too generalized for us to make any conclusions.”

What you should do

Shoes walking away on path

Stay active as part of a health lifestyle.

Dr. Tran says it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle to maintain and lower your weight. She says it starts with a balanced diet — low in saturated fat and high in vegetables and fruit.

You should also move around – a lot. Exercising three to four times a week is recommended, but Tran says if you can’t exercise, do something physical. Walking, doing housework, and gardening are all good activities to keep you moving around.

“If you’re a little overweight and running a 5K, that’s better than not being active and being a healthy weight,” she said.

There are medications and weight loss surgery, but they should only be considered as a last option.

“For most people who are not morbidly obese, diet and exercise is still the best thing,” she said.

If you have any questions about your health and weight, Dr. Tran says to make sure you go to trusted sources. Don’t just do a Google search. Go to the Mayo Clinic, universities or medical centers for online medical information.

And certainly, you can also talk to your doctor who can give you individual advice about your health.