Study: Ideal Body Mass Index is Between 20 and 24.9
Consider it another reason to go easy on the pies, cakes, and other holiday treats this month: Research examining roughly 1.5 million adults shows that even being slightly overweight—not obese—is enough to raise the risk of an early death. "Having a little extra meat on your bones—if that meat happens to be fat—is harmful, not beneficial," Michael Thun, senior author of the new study, told the Associated Press. Researchers looked at 19 studies involving mostly white adults, and noted each person's body mass index and whether he or she died during the study period. Those who were overweight but not obese were 13 percent more likely to die prematurely than their normal-weight counterparts. The "healthiest" BMI was between 20 and 24.9, the researchers found, which may vary depending on race or ethnicity. "Overweight" BMIs range from 25 to 30; "obese" from 30 to 40; and "morbidly obese" from 40 and above. For a 5-foot-6 person, overweight is 155 pounds, obese is 186, and morbidly obese is 248 pounds, the Associated Press reports. The findings were published on Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine. You can calculate your BMI using this tool.
Want to shed pounds? Maintaining a healthy diet is key to losing weight—fruits, veggies, grains, and dairy are all important, but which foods are the weight-loss standouts?
1. Watermelon. It's not only delicious, but packs a wallop of antioxidants like vitamins A and C, U.S. News's Ryan Sullivan wrote in August. It also contains lycopene, a plant chemical found in studies to lower your risk of cancer, heart disease and age-related vision loss due to macular degeneration. Just as gratifying: One cup of cubed watermelon contains less than 50 calories, not too damaging for your waistline.
2. Avocado. This extremely versatile fruit can be used in salads, sandwiches, and guacamole. Filled with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, avocado is a healthful alternative to mayonnaise and can help lower "bad" LDL cholesterol levels. Just watch your portions. One-quarter of a medium-sized avocado contains 65 calories, so you don't want to overdo it.
3. Sweet Potato. A medium-sized sweet potato (about the size of your fist) fulfills your daily requirement for vitamin A and provides 4 grams of fiber. And you'll save half the calories compared to a white potato: A medium-sized sweet potato has only 150 calories compared to nearly 300 for a white one of the same size. [Continue reading the next 5 foods that will help you lose weight.]
Popular Health Articles from USNews.com
- A School Nutrition Experiment: Junk Food Carrots
- 7 Things to Know if You've Received a Diabetes Diagnosis
- How to Choose a Health Plan: 12 Helpful Tips
- Too Noisy at Work? Watch Out for Heart Risks
- Video: How to Manage Diabetes