Dr. Campbell: Staying lean may help you live longer

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Obesity is epidemic in the United States today.

Last year we spent over $150 billion on obesity and obesity-related illness. Diet and exercise can make a big difference when it comes to your health. Obesity is directly related to the development of type2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease—just to name a few. Two new studies released this week conclude that maintaining a lean body type may even make you live longer.

In the first study, U.S. scientists found that slim people had the lowest risk of dying over a 15-year period – 12 percent for women and 20 percent for men. Meanwhile, obese men and women had the highest risk for death over the same time period – 20 percent for women and 24 percent for men.

For the study, researchers from Harvard collected data on more than 80,000 women who took part in the Nurses’ Health Study and more than 36,000 men who were enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study.

Participants were asked to recall their body shape at ages 5, 10, 20, 30 and 40. They also provided their weight at 50. They were followed from age 60 over an average of 15 to 16 years. In addition, participants completed questionnaires on lifestyle and health every two years and on diet every four years.

In a second study, international researchers found that gaining weight over time was linked with higher risks of premature death.

They analyzed 230 previously published studies that included more than 30 million people and nearly 4 million deaths. They found that among people who never smoked, those with the leanest body shape lived the longest.

Ultimately, both studies support the idea that a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 20-23 is associated with a much lower risk for death.

For example—A BMI of 18-25 is normal, 25-30 is overweight and more than 30 is obese. BMI is a ratio of weight to height.

These studies solidify the notion that being lean throughout life is ideal for your health. It is important to begin healthy habits early in life and continue these throughout the aging process. Ideally the CDC recommends 150 minutes of exercise each week.

To get in touch with Dr. Campbell, you can head to his website, Facebook page or message him on Twitter. If there’s a topic you’d like to see Dr. Campbell cover, let us know by sending an email to newstips@wncn.com.

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