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HHS HealthBeat (February 26, 2014)

No paradox

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

It’s been called "the obesity paradox" – the idea, based on some small studies, that people with type 2 diabetes live a bit longer if they are overweight. But a closer look at patients with diabetes indicates that the premise isn’t correct – instead, they are more likely to die sooner.

Researcher Deirdre Tobias of the Harvard School of Public Health analyzed15 years of data on more than 11,400 people with diabetes.  She looked at factors such as lifespan and BMI, a ratio of weight to a person’s height.

“The risk in overweight and obese actually did go up. With increasing BMI, you actually have increased risk of mortality.”

The best lifespans were in the normal BMI range.

The study in the New England Journal of Medicine was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: February 26, 2014