Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

50+: Live Better, Longer

Font Size

Overweight Older People Live Longer

A Few Extra Pounds May Be a Plus in Old Age, Researchers Say

Exercise Lowered Death Risk continued...

Flicker believes the BMI thresholds for overweight and obese are too restrictive for older people, and he says it may be time for the World Health Organization to change the guidelines to reflect the findings from his and other studies.

Geriatric medicine specialist Thomas Yoshikawa, MD, of UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, agrees.

“From a hard science point of view it may be a bit premature, but my own personal belief is this is something we should carefully consider,” he tells WebMD.

Yoshikawa says as many as two dozen observational studies suggest that carrying a few extra pounds is beneficial for people in their 80s and older.

Although extra pounds clearly add to the risk for chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes earlier in life, they may actually give older people extra reserves to recover from stresses like surgery or pneumonia, he says.

“I would rather have an elderly patient who is in relatively good health and is close to normal weight gain five or 10 pounds than lose five or 10 pounds,” he says.

1|2

Today on WebMD

Senior man doing press ups in gym
Slideshow
reflection of couple kissing
Quiz
 
man reviewing building plans
Quiz
Women working out and walking with weights
Community
 
fast healthy snack ideas
Article
how healthy is your mouth
Tool
 
dog on couch
Tool
doctor holding syringe
Slideshow
 
champagne toast
Slideshow
Youth listening to headphones
Slideshow
 
Man feeding woman
Slideshow
two senior women laughing
Article