Friday, February 6, 2009
Medical Reports: Fat
More than half of all adults in the United States are overweight or obese, but experts now say despite the extra pounds, some of those people may actually be more healthy than thin people. In today's Healthcast, Seven's Christine Cruz has news a lot of us have been waiting to hear.
WSVN -- Tracey Posess is a mother of five and works out regularly.
Tracey Posess: "I'm here as often as I can be, at least four to five days a week."
She's toned and muscular, but at 163 pounds and with a body mass index of 26.5, Tracey is still considered overweight.
Tracey Posess: "I don't think I'm overweight."
A BMI of roughly 18 to 25 is considered normal weight, 25 to 30 is overweight. Anything more than 30 is considered obese.
But scientists now say those numbers may not tell the whole story.
Joshua Brown, Ph.D., Medical University of South Carolina: "The news, I think, hopefully will allow people to breathe the sigh of relief who may be in the overweight range."
Research shows, compared to normal weight and obese people, overweight people have a lower risk of death from infections, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and lung disease. Another study showed about half of overweight people have normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Dr. Brown: "It does reiterate to folks who may be in the overweight range that they are not necessarily unhealthy."
But some say this research isn't enough to redefine overweight as healthy.
Patrick O'Neil, Ph.D., Medial University of South Carolina: "It only speaks to the likelihood of dying from particular causes. It does not address health status, it does not address quality of life."
Tracey says all she knows is she feels healthy.
Tracey Posess: "If they are showing it, then I'm thrilled to hear it, you know. I feel comfortable."
The experts say the overweight people most likely to be healthy are those who are regular exercisers and have regular checkups, including blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute
Calculate your BMI Online