Being Overweight Not Associated with Increased Death Risk


A new report suggests that being overweight is not associated with an increased risk of death, which could be important to Latinos – a group 20 percent more likely to be obese than their white counterparts.
The study from the University of California at Davis found that when compared to those with normal weight, people who were overweight or obese had no increased risk of death during a follow-up period of six years. People who were severely obese did have a higher risk, but only if they also had diabetes or hypertension.
The researchers behind the study indicate that those Latinos in the latter category should receive a stern warning from their medical caregivers about a definite risk of death if their problems are left untreated.
“There is currently a widespread belief that any degree of overweight or obesity increases the risk of death, however our findings suggest this may not be the case,” said Anthony Jerant, professor of family and community medicine and lead author of the study, said in a statement. “In the six-year timeframe of our evaluation, we found that only severe obesity was associated with an increased risk of death, due to co-occurring diabetes and hypertension.”
“Our results do not mean that being overweight or obese is not a threat to individual or public health,” said Jerant. “These conditions can have a significant impact on quality of life, and for this reason alone weight loss may be advisable.”
Weight issues are important in the Latino community, especially among younger Latinos. According to information compiled by SaludVital, the rate of obesity has doubled among Latino youth in the last decade, and Latino teenagers are twice as likely to be overweight. Overall, the prevalence of overweight and obesity in Latinos is 73%.