A few extra pounds can be good for you

Having a little extra weight can be beneficial for those fighting cancer or heart disease, according to the Journal of American Medi
JACOB LAMMERS
May 24, 2010

Having a little extra weight can be beneficial for those fighting cancer or heart disease, according to the Journal of American Medical Association.

A study appearing in the publication indicates people who are overweight --having a body mass index between 25 and 30 pounds -- did not increase the risk of dying from heart disease or any kind of cancer.

Dr. Marsha Cooper, a board certified doctor of internal medicine at Firelands Regional Medical Center, said the study goes against the theory that being overweight can be unhealthy.

"If you're slightly heavier and you're fighting a very severe illness, your weight that you have can be a big benefit," Cooper said.

Cooper said the body uses the extra weight to siphon off "nutritional reserves" in extreme cases like cancer or other grave illnesses.

"If you're underweight, you're nutritionally deprived and it's much harder for your body to overcome that (grave illness)," she said.

Overweight people were also about 40 percent less likely than normal weight people to die from several other causes, including emphysema, pneumonia, injuries and various infections, according to the Associated Press.

People aged 25 to 59 seemed to benefit the most from a little extra weight while older overweight people had reduced risks for these diseases.

Cooper cautions being overweight is unhealthy and is only a benefit in "extreme cases."

"We know from looking at statistical studies on life span that groups who are thin are long-lived," Cooper said.

The fact that a person is overweight or obese -- more than 30 pounds overweight -- could increase their chances of being diagnosed with a variety of health problems, including colon cancer, breast cancer, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, Cooper said.

"We still maintain it's important to strive for an ideal body weight," Cooper said. "While there may be some truth to it {study.} It's one isolated study and some truth that has yet to be proved."

Cooper said the best thing a person can do is eat in moderation and exercise to maintain a healthy body weight.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.