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Healthy at Any Size?

Posted by bmagnus On September - 30 - 2009

An ongoing study of thousands of nurses has now released data on the 17,000+ women now over 70 years old. The results: “Women who were obese at age 50 were 79% less likely than women with a normal BMI at that age to be healthy survivors.” The criteria for “healthy survivors” is that they did not have cancer, diabetes, heart attacks, coronary bypass, congestive heart failure, strokes, kidney disease, and a host of other maladies. Moreover, those who gained weight between the ages of  18 and 50 were less likely to be healthy than those with a steady weight.

Sadly, “Nearly 60 percent of the women had cognitive, physical or mental health limitations but no diagnosed major diseases; and 37 percent had both chronic diseases and cognitive, physical and mental health limitations….” However, researchers were quick to point out the good news: “Since body weight is a modifiable factor, the good news is that healthy aging is not purely the consequence of good genes or other factors that one cannot change. If women maintain a healthy weight as adults, they may increase their odds of enjoying a healthy life in their later years.” [emphasis added]

This study is certainly bad news for those who think it’s possible to be “fat but fit.” In the long run, weight control is essential for aging healthily and gracefully.

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