Sunday, January 31, 2010

Study finds overweight seniors live longer

Individuals who carry a few extra pounds after the age of 70 tend to live longer than their normal-weight peers, a new study finds.

According to the study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, overweight seniors with no underlying disease such as diabetes or osteoarthritis, caused or exacerbated by carrying extra pounds, have a higher survival rate that normal weight individuals.

The risk of death is reported to be 17 percent lower in these individuals, the study found. Sedentary lifestyles shorten the lifespan of seniors regardless of their weight, doubling the risk of mortality for women and increasing it by 28% for men.

Scientists concluded that the widely accepted body mass index (BMI) guidelines are not useful after the age of 70, stressing that underweight elderly are more prone to death.

"This is important since under-nutrition is an important problem in older people," said Kay-Tee Khaw from Cambridge University.