Normal weight older people are at a greater mortality risk than their overweight counterparts after crossing the age of 70, a new study has claimed.
According to the research, appeared in Journal of The American Geriatrics Society, overweight people aged over 70 years are less likely to die in the next 10 years than the normal weight people of the same age.
The researchers from the University of Western Australia, who looked at data taken over a decade among more than 9,200 men and women aged between 70 and 75, found that mortality risk was lowest for participants with a BMI classified as overweight, with the risk of death reduced by 13 per cent compared with normal weight participants.
The benefits were only seen in the overweight category not in those people who are obese.
Obesity and overweight are most commonly defined according to body mass index (BMI), which is calculated by dividing bodyweight (in kg) by the square of height (in metres).
"Concerns have been raised about encouraging apparently overweight older people to lose weight and as such the objective of our study was to examine the major unresolved question of, what level of BMI is associated with the lowest mortality risk in older people?" said lead researcher Prof Leon Flicker.