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Posted: Monday, 31 March 2014 7:49AM

Weighing Too Little More Dangerous than Being Obese

Kamil Macniak/Thinkstock(TORONTO) -- For decades, it's been drummed into Americans' heads that carrying around too much weight is bad for one's health. Now, the opposite seems to hold true as well and is perhaps even more dangerous.

According to researchers at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, people who are considered excessively thin are nearly twice more likely to die prematurely than those who are of normal weight.

The finding was based on analyses of 50 studies of the clinically underweight who have a body mass index (BMI) of under 18.5.

Meanwhile, people who fall into the category of obese with a BMI of between 30 and 34.9 are only 1.3 times at greater risk of dying than those in the normal BMI range of 18.5 and 25.9.

Lead author Dr. Joel Ray says, "We have an obligation to ensure that we avoid creating an epidemic of underweight adults and fetuses who are otherwise at the correct weight."

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio