The Health Risk of Obesity—Better Metrics Imperative

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Science  23 Aug 2013:
Vol. 341, Issue 6148, pp. 856-858
DOI: 10.1126/science.1241244

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Obesity has increased worldwide; is a major risk factor for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, sleep apnea, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, osteoarthritis, and other ailments; and has been associated with disability, mortality, and enormous health costs (1, 2). Despite these clear adverse consequences of obesity, some studies have suggested that obesity as defined by body mass index (BMI) improves survival under certain conditions (38). Here, we discuss the controversies surrounding the “obesity-mortality paradox” and offer potential mechanisms to explain the effects of obesity on health.