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For healthy, active adults, higher BMI may not be a bad thing

Many adults may be concerned that their body mass index (BMI) is not as low as it should be. However, experts are seeing a growing amount of evidence suggesting that as long as you are reasonably healthy and in shape, a higher BMI may not actually be such a bad thing. In fact, it may offer several benefits, AARP reports.

Most guidelines say that a person's BMI - a measurement of body fat that's calculated by looking at height and weight - should be below 25. While keeping it under that level is a good goal, a recent study found that people whose BMIs that were between 25 and 29.9 had smaller chance of dying than those whose BMI was under 25.

"Banging on older people just because their BMI is 26 or 27 [when] some researchers say it's supposed to be under 25 is just silly," G. David Williamson, a professor at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health, told AARP. "I don't see any evidence that function or longevity are compromised in that narrow range."

Among the benefits of a slightly above average BMI is that it can promote healthier bones. Experts say that putting more stress on bones causes them to grow more, so that someone with a little higher BMI may have denser bones.

Despite the benefits, researchers are quick to point out that the findings do not apply to people who are obese and unhealthy - rather people who have an ideal body weight and live an healthy lifestyle. Additionally, regardless of the BMI, experts say that you should not ignore the importance of regular physical activity.

"Fitness is more important than fatness in determining mortality," epidemologist Steven N. Blair told the organization. "We've seen dramatic reductions in mortality even in obese individuals who are fit."

According to the Centers for Disease Control, older adults should get about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week. Doctors even say you can break it up into 10 minutes stretches doing everything from mowing the lawn to walking to the store.

Del Webb at Lake Oconee offers its homeowners plenty of opportunities to stay fit. In addition to the fully equipped fitness center, the community provides both biking and hiking trails so you can mix up your routine. And with direct access to Lake Oconee you can experience some of the state’s best fishing, swimming, boating, camping, water-skiing and wakeboarding.

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