Think those few extra pounds might help you get through sickness? Think again. A new study shows they actually do more harm that good.
“We don’t see any positive effect at all,” Deirdre Tobias, with the Harvard School of Public Health told Bloomberg. The bottom line is that being overweight increases your likelihood of heart disease, cancer and premature death.
About two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight, and a third of them are obese. Many of those who are overweight also have type 2 diabetes, a condition in which the body does not produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. The disease puts people at risk for heart disease, kidney disease, dementia and a host of other health problems.
A handful of small studies have suggested that those with type 2 diabetes might actually fare better if they are carrying a few extra pounds – a metabolic reserve, if you will – because it gives them more “fuel” to fight illness. But that notion is just bologna, says a new, larger study.
“It is a very convincing study,” independent expert Dr. Patrick Remington, Associate Dean for Public Health at the University of Wisconsin-Madison told Bloomberg.
The study involved 11,427 female and male health professionals diagnosed with diabetes at some point after enrolling in two long-term health studies. The participants were grouped according to body mass index (BMI). Those with a BMI of 25 or greater are considered overweight, and those with a BMI of 30 or more are considered obese. During the course of more than 15 years, there were 3,083 deaths. Those who were least likely to die were those in the 22.5 to 25 BMI, or normal range.
The new study clearly squashes the myth that those few extra pounds – especially for diabetics – are good for you. Diabetics are already at increased risk for serious health problems. Many rely on medications to keep their blood sugar in check, and help prevent complications. However those medications can also carry serious risks. For example, the widely prescribed type 2 diabetes drug Actos has been linked to bladder cancer, and the newer drugs Byetta and Januvia have been associated with pancreatic cancer.
The conclusion? Help prevent diabetes by adopting a healthy diet and exercise regime to reach your ideal weight.