Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Resolve to Lose Should Americans Be Allowed a Few Extra Pounds?

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Resolve to Lose Should Americans Be Allowed a Few Extra Pounds?

Article excerpt

Nearly 70 percent of U.S. adults are overweight, including 78 million who are obese. So it's no surprise that losing weight ranks as a perennial favorite among New Year's resolutions -- along with quitting smoking, managing debt and getting a better job.

But if your resolve tends to fizzle before January is over, a new study that shows that a few extra pounds could cut the risk of death might console you. Scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the lowest risk of mortality among Americans who are overweight but not obese.

Hold the chocolate sundae, though. In reporting the study, government scientists avoided drawing conclusions or making recommendations. The study, they noted, didn't consider gender, age, fat distribution, fitness levels or other variables that could affect the risk of disease and death.

A 6 foot man is considered overweight at 185 pounds, mildly obese at 225 pounds and severely obese at 260 pounds. A few extra pounds might not hurt you, but anecdotal and empirical evidence suggests that appearance and acceptance, not health, drive America's obsession with thinness. …

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