Do You Really Need to Lose Weight?
7 questions that can help you decide
By Dulce Zamora
Reviewed By Charlotte Grayson, MD
So your favorite jeans have gotten a bit too close-fitting for comfort. Maybe you don't cut quite the figure in your bathing suit that you did a few years ago.
But do you really need to lose weight? Are you putting your health in danger -- or just carrying around a little harmless extra padding?
The standard answer is that you're overweight if your body mass index (BMI) is 25 or higher and obese if your BMI is 30 or higher. But some new research is confusing the weight-and-health issue a bit.
A study published in the April 20 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that people whose BMIs put them into the overweight category actually had a lower risk of death than people in the normal-weight group. (People who were considered obese still had an increased risk of death.)
"When we looked at the overweight group we found that that group was associated with fewer than the expected number of deaths," says study author David F. Williamson, PhD, senior epidemiologist at the Diabetes Division of the CDC. Does that mean that if you're overweight, but not obese, you should quit worrying about dropping the extra pounds? Experts who spoke to WebMD gave us some answers -- along with seven questions you should ask yourself.
The Body Mass Index
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