Do you need a bit of extra fat to stay healthy as you age?


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- Alex Hutchinson (@sweatscience)


This week’s Jockology column in the Globe and Mail tries to untangle conflicting data about whether being moderately overweight increases or decreases your lifespan:

It’s a surprising, subversive and very, very popular idea.

Over the past few years, several studies – including a 2009 analysis of Statistics Canada data – have suggested that being a bit chubby as you get older, far from being a health risk, may actually help you live longer. The extra weight, the thinking goes, could help cushion you from the inevitable slings, arrows and hip fractures of old age.

But the newly published results of a three-decade-long study of clean-living Seventh-Day Adventists in California suggest that you might want to go easy on those early-bird specials after all. When confounding factors such as skinny smokers were removed, the effects of extra weight were clear – and bad – even for those older than 75… [READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE]

The article is accompanied by a graphic by Trish McAlaster, which includes a bit of info on the recent study showing aerobic exercise targets visceral fat more effectively than strength training, which targets subcutaneous fat:

3 Replies to “Do you need a bit of extra fat to stay healthy as you age?”

  1. Hello Alex, the idea of reducing your risk to die with a little higher bmi
    is already attacked bij an earlier study in the new england journal o med.

    But you also know that BMI doesn’t tell the whole story, muscle to fat ratio could be more important.

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