LF and FH contributed equally to the manuscript.
Optimal body weight for health and longevity: bridging basic, clinical, and population research
Version of Record online: 14 MAR 2014
© 2014 The Authors. Aging Cell published by the Anatomical Society and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Volume 13, Issue 3, pages 391–400, June 2014
How to Cite
Fontana, L. and Hu, F. B. (2014), Optimal body weight for health and longevity: bridging basic, clinical, and population research. Aging Cell, 13: 391–400. doi: 10.1111/acel.12207
- Issue online: 23 MAY 2014
- Version of Record online: 14 MAR 2014
- Manuscript Accepted: 20 JAN 2014
- NIH. Grant Numbers: DK58845, P30 DK46200, U54CA155626-01
- Bakewell Foundation
- Mobilizing the potential of active aging in Europe
- Longer Life Foundation (an RGA/Washington University Partnership)
- Glenn Foundation
- Scott and Annie Appleby Charitable Trust
- National Center for Research Resources. Grant Number: UL1 RR024992
- National Institute of Diabetes And Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Grant Number: P30DK056341
- European Union's Seventh Framework Program MOPACT. Grant Numbers: FP7-SSH-2012-1, 320333
- body mass index;
- calorie intake;
- disease prevention;
Excess body weight and adiposity cause insulin resistance, inflammation, and numerous other alterations in metabolic and hormonal factors that promote atherosclerosis, tumorigenesis, neurodegeneration, and aging. Studies in both animals and humans have demonstrated a beneficial role of dietary restriction and leanness in promoting health and longevity. Epidemiological studies have found strong direct associations between increasing body mass index (BMI) and risks of developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and several types of cancer, beginning from BMI of 20–21 kg m−2. Although a recent meta-analysis suggests that overweight individuals have significantly lower overall mortality than normal-weight individuals, these data are likely to be an artifact produced by serious methodological problems, especially confounding by smoking, reverse causation due to existing chronic disease, and nonspecific loss of lean mass and function in the frail elderly. From a clinical and public health point of view, maintaining a healthy weight through diet and physical activity should remain the cornerstone in the prevention of chronic diseases and the promotion of healthy aging.