An analysis of studies has revealed that a body mass index between 20.0 and 24.9 is associated with the lowest risk of mortality from any cause in healthy non smoker adults.
The researchers also included accurate estimates of the increased risk of death of overweight and obese individuals in comparison to individuals with a BMI of 20.0 to 24.9. Earlier research which looked at the risks of being overweight had been inconclusive, with a few revealing only a slightly higher risk of death while others showed a lower risk.
Body mass index, or BMI, is the most widely used method to measure body fat, and although it has its limitations, it’s still considered to be an adequate tool for measuring body fat. BMI is worked out by dividing an individual’s body weight in kg by the square of their height in meters (kg/m2),
With this huge analysis, researchers pooled data coming from nineteen long term studies that followed 1.46 million participants from 5 to 28 years, dependent upon the actual study.
The researchers revealed that healthy non smoker women that had been overweight were 13% more likely to die within the research follow up time period compared to those having a BMI in between 22.5 and 24.9. Women classified as obese or severely obese stood a significantly higher risk of death. Compared to a BMI of 22.5 to 24.9, the study reported a 44% increased risk of death for those having a BMI of 30.0 to 34.9; an 88% increase in risk of death for individuals with a BMI of 35.0 to 39.9; and a 250% greater risk of death for those whose BMI was 40.0 to 49.9. Outcome was generally equivalent for men. For women and men combined, for each 5 increased BMI units, the study found a 31% increase in risk of death.