The study had set out to discover what level of body mass index was associated with the lowest risk of death in the elderly and did so by tracking the number of deaths over 10 years among volunteers aged between 70 – 75 at the start of the study.
It found that those who had a BMI which classed them as moderately overweight had the lowest risk of dying and also had the lowest risk of dying from diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and chronic respiratory disease.
The death rate among the obese group was similar to those of a normal weight, but the risk of those who were very obese was much greater, as was the case for those who were underweight.
In this case, experts have said that the usual way of interpreting BMI doesn’t apply to older people. It could also mean that slightly overweight elderly could have the advantage of more nutritional reserves when they get ill. The overall conclusion of the study, that being overweight may be less harmful for elderly people.