The study's conclusions are not a green light to start expanding your waistline, elevating your blood glucose, increasing your blood pressure and cholesterol. Don't get confused about the real health risks that excess pounds create.
I prefer the health advice offered in best-selling author Daniel Butner's book The Blue Zones, about the healthiest, longest-living people around the world. I am especially fascinated by the power and simplicity of the nine traits these people share, according to Butner.
Here's an abridged version of the nine traits - being overweight is not one of them!
1. Move naturally: The world's healthiest and longest-living people don't run marathons, nor do they go to the gym. Their body is the gym, and life is a workout.
2. Purpose: Know and live your life with purpose.
3. Downshift: Stress leads to chronic inflammation, which is associated with every major disease. Cultivate daily rituals and strategies for managing stress. Prayer, mediation and naps are among "Blue Zone" techniques.
4. The 80 Percent Rule: Stop eating when you're 80 percent full. Don't snack all day. Eat your smallest meal in the evening.
5. Plant slant: Eat a more plant-based diet with lots of beans. Have just 3 ounces of meat about five times a month.
6. Drink a little vino: That's one to two glasses - 3-ounce glasses, that is!
7. Belong: Faith-based communities play a big part of Blue Zone lifestyles. According to the research, participating in a faith-based community four times a month adds 4 to 14 years to your life.
8. Loved ones first: Put family first. Blue Zoners have committed relationships, investing time and love with their children and their aging parents. Sorry, no nannies and no nursing homes.
9. It takes a tribe: Blue Zone communities share and support healthy lifestyle behaviors, and these values are passed on to subsequent generations.