Is It O.K. to Be Pudgy?

That's the question raised by the latest government study. What the findings do—and don't—reveal

Millions of pleasantly plump Americans were stepping a little lighter. A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had just concluded that folks who are overweight but not obese are at no greater risk of dying prematurely than people of normal weight. You could almost hear the national sigh of relief in the newspaper articles, radio talk shows and monologues of late-night comedians that followed. "I can't tell you how happy this makes me," David Brooks wrote in the New York Times, which devoted a front-page story, an editorial and two Op-Ed pieces to the findings. "A lifetime...

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