Very High or Low Weights Increase Risk of Early Death, Says Study
Chinese adults who are either underweight or obese increase their risk of early death, say Tulane University epidemiologists in an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
“The relationship between weight and health outcomes has primarily been studied in Western populations,” says lead author and principal investigator Dr. Jiang He. “Our results show that a universal standard of healthy weights that puts body mass index between 23 and 27 should be applied to all racial and ethnic groups.”
The researchers analyzed data from 154,736 adults over the age of 40 years living in mainland China. The data was collected over a 10-year period, once in 1991 and again in 1999-2000. Researchers calculated the body mass index of each participant on a range between 0 and 30. The BMI number is derived by dividing an individual’s weight in kilograms by the square of his or her height in meters. Men with a BMI between 24 and 24.9 and women with a BMI between 25 and 26.9 were the least likely to die during the study, while those with the highest and lowest BMIs were the most likely to die.
Researchers note that men who smoked cigarettes or used alcohol were more likely to have lower BMIs. Heavier study subjects were more likely to be physically inactive and have high blood pressure.
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