Being a little heavy might not lead you to an early death, says a new study.

A higher BMI, experts say, is risk factor for type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart diseases and even early death. However, a new study says that mildly obese people do not necessarily face severe health problems.

"There is currently a widespread belief that any degree of overweight or obesity increases the risk of death, however our findings suggest this may not be the case. In the six-year timeframe of our evaluation, we found that only severe obesity was associated with an increased risk of death, due to co-occurring diabetes and hypertension," said Anthony Jerant, professor of family and community medicine and lead author of the study.

The study involved more than 50,000 people between ages 18 and 90. The researchers found that people who were mildly overweight had no increased risk of dying early.

"Our results do not mean that being overweight or obese is not a threat to individual or public health. These conditions can have a significant impact on quality of life, and for this reason alone weight loss may be advisable," said Jerant.

Medical Daily had earlier reported that being mildly obese might in fact increase a person's chances of living after a heart surgery.

Researchers say that aggressive medical intervention might have lowered the risk of early death in people who have high BMI levels.

"Our findings indicate that the risk of having an above-normal BMI may be lower than in the past. While this study cannot explain the reasons, it is possible that as overweight and obesity have become more common, physicians have become more aware of associated health issues like high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar, and are more aggressive about early detection and treatment of these conditions," said Jerant.

Obesity is growing with an incredible pace in the U.S., which according to certain estimates is, with more than 30%. Men and women across all ages and ethnicities are prone to obesity but non-Hispanic black (44.1%) and Mexican- American men (39.3), especially those with higher income, are more likely to be obese.

The World Health Organization says that now almost 65 percent of the world population lives in countries where overweight or obesity kills more people than underweight.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.