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Thin People More Likely To Die

Just when you thought being super thin was best for your health… the Mayo Clinic published a short news brief in their December newsletter, “Mayo Clinic Connection” that casts some doubt on the benefits of being thin:

“Whereas obesity is a strong risk factor for heart disease, the standard test for measuring obesity – Body Mass Index (BMI) – may be of little use in predicting the risk of death. Results from studies involving 250,000 heart patients showed that those with the lowest BMIs had the highest risk of death. People who were overweight – but not obese – had a lower risk.”

Having a low amount of body fat has its advantages (like for rock climbing or marathon running) but being ~10 pounds overweight may actually be advantageous for your heart health. This is not an invitation to gain weight – just a little encouragement that “pleasantly plump” is not always such a bad thing. At least, that’s what I tell myself!

This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at

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4 Responses to “Thin People More Likely To Die”

  1. Anonymous says:

    What does that mean for those of us who have “normal” BMI, or for those who are underweight? What is the best course of action for a patient who hears this news?

  2. wellth says:

    Thanks Val! For once, I am in a moment of glory. ;)

  3. ValJonesMD says:

    To anonymous: this study seems to suggest that being underweight puts a person at higher risk for cardiac death. For those who have normal BMIs – they need not do anything in particular. For those who have below normal BMIs – they should be aware of this risk, and discuss their nutritional status with an dietician or physician.

  4. food nut says:

    This is interesting in light of the recent studies on calorie restriction and how that’s supposed to make you live longer. I’d be interested to see which one wins out in the long term.

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