Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Look Younger? Fit vs Fat for Over 40 Year Olds

It's a question surely as old as vanity itself: how can you look young forever? A forthcoming study in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery offers one surprising idea: as you age, don't be afraid to put on a few pounds. Fat, it turns out, can significantly smooth out wrinkles and give you a younger-looking face.

The authors of the new study, a team led by Dr. Bahman Guyuron of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, are plastic surgeons who study faces for a living. They analyzed photographs of the faces of 186 pairs of identical twins taken at the Twins Days Festival, a sort of twins' pride event held every summer in (naturally) Twinsburg, Ohio. Because the pairs had identical genetic material, differences in how old they looked could be attributed entirely to their behavioral choices and environment. Guyuron's team had the twins fill out extensive questionnaires about their lives - everything from how many times they had married to whether they had regularly used sunscreen. Then a panel of four judges independently estimated the twins' ages by looking at photos taken in Twinsburg.

The Guyuron team's most interesting findings had to do with weight. Many of the twin pairs were of similar weight, but differences in how old they looked began to appear when one had a body mass index (BMI) at least four points higher than her sister. For twin pairs under 40, the heavier one looked significantly older. But surprisingly, after 40, that same four-point difference in BMI made the heavier twin look significantly younger.

I don't know about this. We know other environmental factors such as sun exposure and smoking factor in significantly in appearance, right? Take the example in the photos directly above where the twin on the left is a bit heavier, yet the twin on right looks younger. Perhaps all things the same (both smoked or not, both had similar sun exposure, etc.) the weight would be the deciding factor - I don't know. The twin at left directly above smoked whereas the one on the right did not. What about the health risks of being a little bit heavier, though? I'm 40 with a few extra pounds so I could live a happy life thinking a heavier weight will keep me looking younger, but is that really responsible?

Chime in ... what do YOU think about this?

source: yahoo.com

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