Being even a few pounds overweight at age 50 increases your chances of premature death, according to a large new study.
Previous studies have shown that being obese (roughly 30 or more pounds overweight) increases the risk of premature death. But there has been some debate about whether a few extra pounds are also linked to early death.
Researchers with the National Cancer Institute examined the lifestyle habits of more than 527,000 men and women, ages 50 to 71, over a period of 10 years. They found that those who were somewhat overweight at 50 had a 20-40 percent higher risk of death. Those who were actually obese had a 100-200 percent higher risk of death.
A separate large study on Korean patients, released at the same time, came to the same conclusion. Those who were overweight in that group increased their risk of death from cancer or heart disease by as much as 50 percent. Researchers urged people to take steps to lose weight, or at least stop gaining weight.