Isn’t it always those last extra 5 or 10 pounds that are the most difficult to get rid of? Well, according to an article in the Journal that may actually be a good thing.
A body of research is emerging that suggests that there’s little risk to carrying a few extra pounds. And there may even be some benefit. Indeed, people who are 10-to-15 pounds overweight appear to have no greater risk of dying than those of so-called “normal” weight. Other studies have shown that those who are overweight are no more likely to die from cancer or cardiovascular disease. Also, being a little overweight may help stave off osteoporosis. And it can make you look younger, too.
While experts agree that obesity is a serious health issue with widespread medical implications, there is a difference between carrying a bit of extra fat and being obese. “Just because someone is slightly overweight doesn’t mean they’re not healthy,” says Keri Gans, a registered dietician and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. Indeed, researchers and doctors are starting to understand that eating healthy foods and getting exercise can matter more than the number that appears when you step on the scale.
How a Little Fat Can Help
Some new research shows that being a little overweight doesn’t increase health risks. And there may be some benefits. Recent findings include
- Overweight people are no more likely than those of normal weight to die from cancer or cardiovascular disease.
- During a 10-year time span, there was a reduced risk of dying for people in their 70s who were overweight compared to those of normal weight.
- Doctors who study osteoporosis say a little extra weight may help strengthen bones.
- As they age, women who are overweight often look younger than other women.
A little extra fat may also act as a natural face-lift. Last year, the Archives of Dermatology published a study that said, as women grow older, those who are overweight appeared younger than those who were normal or underweight. That is because a little fat provides more structure for the skin which can combat the sagging that comes with age. Indeed, many of the newest cosmetic procedures aim to mimic the role of fat in the face, instead of simply filling in lines and wrinkles.
Doctors who study osteoporosis see some benefits to being 10 pounds overweight: Subcutaneous fat produces estrogen which can help increase bone mass. And it might strengthen a skeleton to carry a bit of extra weight, says Felicia Cosman, clinical director of National Osteoporosis Foundation and a professor of medicine at Columbia University. “Women should not worry if they are 10 to 15 pounds overweight, particularly if the fat is not concentrated in [the] belly,” Dr. Cosman says.
This article sounds great if you are looking at those extra 10 pounds strictly from a health perspective. But for those who would like to look good, and by extension feel good, there is only one thing to say to those extra pounds – good riddance!