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Underweight, Overweight or Obese? What's Your Health Risk?

By November 11, 2007

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A study that appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, November 7th, 2007, compared health risks of people who were underweight, overweight or obese.

Scientists used the BMI scale to compare risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and kidney disease.

BMI Criteria:

  • 18.5 or less = underweight
  • 18.5 to <25 = normal weight
  • 25 to <30 = overweight
  • 30 to <35 = obese
  • 35 or greater = morbidly obese

The study concluded that being underweight was associated with increased mortality compared to normal weight individuals, but from noncancer, non-cardiovascular causes. People who were overweight had more risk of death from diabetes and kidney disease but much less from cancer or cardiovascular disease. In fact, being overweight had the lowest risk of mortality of all the causes. Being obese greatly increased the risk of dying from cardiovascular causes.

So, although it seems like being overweight may not be as serious for health risks as being underweight or obese, there is still an increased risk of diabetes and kidney disease that should be taken into consideration.

Read an abstract of the study here...

Photo courtesy of Photodisc/Getty Images

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