But before you thank your lucky stars, you have to read the fine print.
Yes, there is a bit of a catch, and it is a bit of a doozy.
Before we get into the details you should know that this data actually came out of a study at the University of California Irvine Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders. The goal of this study was to learn about which factors could help people to live past the age of 90.
Starting in 2003, the study examined various lifestyle choices and variables to discover that people who consumed coffee or alcohol actually lived longer than those who chose to abstain. They also found that people who were overweight seemed to have better longevity than those with less girth.
It is also kind of interesting to learn that this is not the first study to find that obesity might actually not be as bad for your health as we tend to assume. Even just earlier this year, another study—published in the scientific journal Clinical Obesity—learned that obesity does not, in fact, increased mortality risk. At the same time, though, researchers from the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation, in India, found that it is actually pretty common for people to be overweight or even obese and still be in good health.
Now, the convergence of data from these two studies does not necessarily mean we should all start ignoring our weight and drinking more alcohol. Diabetes specialist Ranjit Mohan Anjana asserts that the previous study simply says that “some people who are overweight or obese may be perfectly healthy, metabolically.”
Indeed, having excess weight can still put you at higher risk for developing other conditions; and being underweight can actually put you at a higher risk for early mortality in many ways.
Going back to this most recent study, however, the researchers had the study participants perform various neurological, cognitive, physical, and neuropsychological tests every six months for several years. They also gathered other kinds of information regarding medical histories, daily activities, medications, and diet. Combined, then, the research suggests that those who are older than 70 and weigh a little more and drink moderate amounts of coffee (1-2 cups a day) and moderate amounts of alcohol (a few drinks a week, perhaps) tend to live longer.
Of course, many other factors can play a role in mortality, so this study is quite preliminary in its conclusions.