The Longevity Paradox Of Being Overweight For Chronic Kidney Disease And Diabetic Patients

"I skipped breakfast this morning and dinner last night, trying to lose weight. It is getting very hard. I am tired all of the time, but I want to lose this extra weight. Do you have any suggestions?"

This is a timely question from a viewer. The common knowledge is that being even slightly overweight increases the risk of many health problems and may contribute to early death. Recently, however, Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes reported that, "vitamins did not prolong life, but carrying some extra weight did."

Her counterintuitive statement has been supported by newly emerging research that suggests, "being thin might not be in your best interest in the long run." Although most findings uphold the idea that obese people tend to die earlier than people of normal weight, they also confirm that being a bit overweight (Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 to 30) had a lower risk of dying than thin people or those of normal weight.

As shocking as this may seem, I know what you're probably thinking, "Sure, but that is the general population. I have Chronic Kidney Disease/Diabetes. What do these findings have to do with me?" Hence, let's go a bit deeper into the information out there, shall we? 

As you probably know, both Chronic Kidney Disease and Diabetic patients are at a significantly elevated risk of Heart Disease. In 2012, a report from the Swedish Coronary Angiography and Angioplasty Registry made international headlines with its findings, "Once people have developed heart disease, they have a reduced risk of dying if they are overweight, while underweight and normal-weight patients have an increased risk." Surprising, huh?

Another study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association studied 2,625 people recently diagnosed with Type II Diabetes, of which 12% were normal weight. However, the larger people with diabetes lived longer than their thinner peers. 

"Because this bias against weight has been so prevalent, it's really been unquestioned, and I think this concept that thin is healthy and fat is not healthy is clearly not true," said Michelle May (Physician and author of "Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat").

Now what does all of this mean for you? As shocking as these findings are, experts note that once patients start to put on pounds, it’s hard to keep them off. Hence, do not aim to gain weight. However, you should worry less about a precise BMI and focus more on how you feel. Work with your Healthcare Team to make sure you're eating right and staying as healthy as you personally can. 

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Hill, Lisa O'Neill. "Thin Is In, but Fat Might Be Better." CNN. Cable News Network.

"How Do You Live past 90? Sunday on 60 Minutes." How Do You Live past 90? Sunday on 60 Minutes. The Gannett Company.

"Being Overweight Isn't All Bad, Study Says." Http:// The Washington Post.

"When Fat Is Healthier than Skinny: The Obesity Paradox." Http:// Alternet.

Sifferlin, Alexandra, and Alexandra Sifferlin. "Obesity and Diabetes: Why There Is No Obesity Paradox." Http:// Time.