Did the newspaper say I’ll live longer if I’m obese??? Bet!!! Actually, not quite.

time mag headline overweight mortality

Actually, not.  This story has gotten a lot of press, though. The article reference showed that people who are overweight, and those at lower levels of obesity, may live longer than people of “normal weight.”  How did they define this?  By BMI, which you can calculate for yourself by clicking here.  Granted, BMI is not perfect (Arnold Schwarzenegger would have been considered obese in his bodybuilding heyday).  BMI breakdowns for defining overweight and obesity are:

BMI Categories:

  • Underweight = <18.5
  • Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
  • Overweight = 25–29.9
  • Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater


What’s your BMI???  If higher than 35, you should not take comfort in this article!  Because it showed that people with BMI > 35 were more likely to die.

My BMI is now 25.5 (just over the line into overweight category), down from a high of 43.3 when I weight 337 lbs.  Life is much better – my prediabetes is gone, as are sleep apnea and high blood pressure.  BTW, the study not take into account that those conditions are more common in obesity – it eliminates their negative effects on mortality, even though they’re like birds of a feather.  If you’re lucky enough to obese and have no other complications, you may fare better.

In fact, I have published research similar to this.  We should also remember that obesity reduces quality of life.  Since losing weight, I feel sharper, sleep better, and have less pain.  Modern medicine provides us with joint replacement surgery and high blood pressure medications, but I’d rather avoid them.

Don’t believe the hype!

Dr John Ellis MD

Board-certified anesthesiologist, with expertise in cardiovascular anesthesia and the implications of obesity and sleep apnea in anesthesia. See vascularanesthesia.com for professional information. Dr. Ellis has used the strategies in here to: (1) lose 120 lbs over 18 months, (2) stop all antihypertensive medicines, and (3) no longer need CPAP treatment for sleep apnea.

One Comment:

  1. From NYT letter to the editor:
    “Paul Campos completely misses the point. The reason that obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are of concern is not higher mortality rates; rather, it is that they have been directly linked to a substantial number of chronic diseases that cause a burden on our health care system and negatively affect the quality of life of millions.

    While death is inevitable, diabetes, cancer and heart disease are not!

    Lexington, Ky., Jan. 3, 2013”

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