Ten extra pounds could keep the doctor away

(NBC) - Numbers on a scale tend to be good motivation.

For Julia Pierce, celebrity magazines get her through the workout.

"Yep, I just saw her and that motivated me to run faster," Pierce said.

But Julia's goal is to be healthy, not stick thin.

"I like to feel good, look good and fit in my clothes this summer," Pierce said.

She may be onto something.  New research has emerged that suggests an extra ten pounds is healthier.

Two studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found people who are slightly overweight are no more likely to die from cancer or cardiovascular disease.

A third study from the University of Western Australia published just this February confirmed those results.

Doctors at UT Southwestern say accepting the extra weight can even be good for your self-esteem

"It's also hard to maintain and I think people get in trouble working hard toward achieving a goal that's not necessarily achievable for them and so it's important to recognize that if you have a little bit of extra weight, it's not necessarily a problem," bariatric specialist Dr. Eve Guth said.

At Equinox, a national chain of gyms, the campaign is, "My Body, My Biography."

"Whether you are a couple pounds heavier or even a couple pounds lighter, you have to be comfortable and healthy in your own skin," personal trainer Giovanna Quatraro said.

"I don't like to be too slim and I'm a prime candidate for osteoporosis, so I take that pretty seriously," Pierce said.  "My grandmother has it."

An extra ten pounds may keep osteoporosis at bay. Fat produces estrogen, which can increase bone mass, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

Extra fat can also serve as a natural face lift by adding more structure, according to a study in the Archives of Dermatology.

"You don't feel like someone is looking at you, judging you. You're here because you want to be," Dianne Edmonson said.

Julia Pierce's thoughts exactly.  Her motto is health and fitness over dieting and scales.

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