Many adults struggle with weight throughout their lifetime, but according to researchers those extra pounds could be beneficial to older adults.

Researchers from Tel Aviv University found that for the elderly excess weight serves as a protective component in your body that lowers the risk of death when compared to others with normal body weight.

Jisk Cohen-Mansfield and Rotem Perach, both of the Herczeg Institute on Aging, explained that people with more body fat have lower percentages of osteoporosis, which is associated with falling and resulting injuries. Obesity also delays weight loss in those seniors who may lose their appetite.

The complete findings are published in the Journal of Aging Research.

Study results were based on information gathered as part of the Cross Sectional and Longitudinal Aging Study (CALAS), and consisted of 1,349 subjects between 75 and 84 years of age. The subjects were asked basic questions concerning their height, weight, age, gender, family, smoking history, socioeconomic status and education.

Twenty years after the initial information was gathered, the researchers completed a mortality analysis on the original sample. During the course of the two decades, 95 percent of the subjects died, leaving 59 of the participants still alive.

Obesity showed to be a factor in death for those who were 75 to 84 years of age. However, those over the age of 85, who were obese, held a lower risk of death compared to the other participants who were of lower weight.

“Though obese people over the age of 85 may be less at risk of death, they may suffer more from obesity-related illnesses,” said Cohen-Mansfield in a statement. “There are other factors to consider, such as pain, multiple ailments, and mobility.”

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