The Checkup: Packing On a Few Pounds Might Help You Live Longer

No joke—a new international analysis found that while obesity can shorten your lifespan, being just a little overweight may actually help you live longer.

• If losing weight is on your New Year’s resolution list, listen up: You may not need to shed as many pounds as you think. A new analysis of three million adults from around the world found those who were a few pounds overweight actually lived longer than normal-weight peers. While obesity was linked to a much higher risk for early death—as much as 29 percent, depending on a person’s level of obesity—people whose BMIs landed them in the “overweight” category actually faced a six percent lower risk of death compared to normal-weight people. Researchers aren’t sure why, but they have their guesses. Some examples: perhaps overweight people head to the doctor sooner when health issues arise, or maybe the extra weight means they get screened more frequently for medical conditions. It’s important to note, as HealthDay does, that “while the study found an association between weight and premature death risk, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.” Also, before you start stuffing your face with cookies and cake, remember that overweight and obesity carry higher risks for scary medical conditions, like type 2 diabetes. (This tidbit, incidentally, is why some people are calling the study “rubbish.”) In other words, don’t abandon your New Year’s weight-loss plans just yet.

• If you need a reason to lay off sweets or processed food, here’s one: a small new study found that the simple sugar fructose—yup, that one in high fructose corn syrup—messes with your body’s hormones and actually makes you feel less full than other kinds of sugars. Read more here.

• Do this right now: blink your eyes. Feel better? New research found that blinking helps the brain “power down” for super-quick catnaps, helping it rest and recharge. The LA Times has more.

Photo: Shutterstock