The Obesity Paradox is, to put it simply, a theory that obesity has more positive health effects on some populations. As the theory goes, body fat is thought to protect the body’s organs in the elderly and in people with certain diseases. This paradox has been largely criticized since its publication and has at last been debunked by researchers at the University of Glasgow.
The Scottish study that included almost 300,000 people revealed that the risk of stroke, heart attack and high blood pressure increased with body mass indexes higher than 23. It also determined that the risk was even higher for people who carried excess fat in their stomach. People with a BMI of 22–23 were at the lowest risk of heart disease.
The patients studied were all considered healthy, so it’s important to remember that this study did not research the effects of obesity in people with diseases. It is still believed that obesity protects people suffering from cancer, as the disease and treatment can cause significant weight loss.
The results of the Obesity Paradox test force us to question if whether its proponents have misdirected causation. In other words, people with lower BMIs may not have an increased risk of death, but rather, people who are sick or near death suffer from significant weight loss.
BMI and Weight Distribution
The study determined two important factors: that people who can maintain a BMI of 22–23 and keep excess weight away from their midsection have the lowest chance of heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure.
If your body mass index is higher than 23, speak to your doctor or dietician who will help you develop a diet and weight-loss plan. Your doctor may also recommend weight loss surgery.