A new study conducted by the National Health and Research Institute (NHRI) indicates that being underweight does not lead to a longer life.

According to results published yesterday by the state-run institution, muscle density is a key factor in determining life expectancy.

Elderly people who have lower skeletal muscle mass (SMM) measurements may face double the risk of death compared to their peers with higher SMM measurements, states the report.

Results of the survey showed that elderly people with the highest body mass index (BMI) rating have the least risk of death while underweight senior citizens face higher risks.

The institute is urging the public to stop fixating on the BMI as an indicator for good health.

Exercising regularly remains the best solution against the onset of muscle mass loss, which becomes severe after the age of 50, says the NHRI.

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