No doubt you’ve heard all the buzz about the recent study suggesting that overweight people have a longevity advantage. The researchers performed a meta-analysis of 97 studies, which included nearly 3 million subjects. They looked at body mass index (BMI) and mortality and found that those in the overweight category—BMI of 25 to 35—had a 5 to 6 percent lower mortality rate. Only at a BMI of 35 or above did mortality risk start to rise.

While it’s not the final word on the relationship between weight and health (no single study, no matter how large and well-conducted, is the final word on anything) it’s one more piece of data that helps to broaden perspective on this issue. An editorial accompanying the study noted that BMI is known to be an imperfect predictor of disease risk. People with higher BMIs can be healthy. And not everyone whose BMI is higher than “ideal” needs to lose weight.

The perspective that is gaining support is one that points away from the scale, and toward healthy habits that are sustainable—that is, habits that not only support health, but that also don’t leave you feeling hungry and deprived.

We vegans have some definite advantages in this regard, and my first article for the new Our Hen House online magazine explores some of the reasons why. I’m so excited to be a part of the Our Hen House project; I love their focus on creating real change for animals in positive ways.  One of the most positive things you can do is trade in weight loss efforts for healthy habits and a lifestyle based on compassion. If the weight comes off, that’s great. If it doesn’t—it’s still great.

Here is my OHH article Moving Beyond the Scale for a Happy, Healthy 2013. It’s accompanied by a fabulous recipe for Cinnamon Walnut Banana Bread from my pal JL Fields.  And, if you are a member of the Our Hen House flock, you’ll have access to some bonus tips on eating to maximize satiety.