weekly blog--one for the ages
Setting politics aside, I was quite skeptical when President Trump claimed that he was in excellent health despite appearing to be overweight. But in this case, it was one of the few times he wasn’t lying.
Enter the world of the Obesity Paradox, a medical hypothesis which holds that obesity may, counter-intuitively be protective and associated with greater survival in certain groups of people, such as very elderly individuals or those with certain chronic diseases. It further postulates that normal to low body mass index or normal values of cholesterol may be detrimental and associated with higher mortality in asymptomatic people.
A research study published in 2012 found that individuals over the age of 65 with a BMI between 25.0 and 29.9 had the lowest mortality rate of any of the BMI categories studied — and lower than individuals with a BMI considered “healthy.” A 2014 meta-analysis found that, for individuals over the age of 65, the lowest mortality rate occurs among people with a BMI between 24.0 and 30.9.
Researchers aren’t sure why this is the case, but hypotheses abound. Some researchers say that individuals with “risky” obesity might die earlier, while those with “less risky” obesity live longer. Another possibility is that the imprecision of BMI as a metric.
So, if the Obesity Paradox is true, you can contribute to making America great again by taking your elderly father out for ice cream this Father’s Day. Or consider a beer and donut, now trending in Los Angeles. Or you can give him a copy of Harvard Medical School’s Guide on Men’s Health to learn the steps, strategies, and secrets to defy age-related diseases, stay mentally and physically fit, boost sexual vitality, and live longer.