Girth Control: Debate over age and weight

Debate over age and weight

The good news: it is important for the young to stay lean, but a little heft helps people live longer, according to a federal researcher at the Gerontology Research Center in Baltimore. The bad news: many obesity and cardiovascular specialists say that lifelong leanness is still the desirable goal.

Guidelines on girth have been the subject of a growing dispute since 1983, when the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. updated its charts on desirable weight. The poundage associated with the lowest death rates, the insurance firm found, had risen by as much as 14 Ibs. over such weights in its 1959 tables....

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