Adults who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of dying from multiple causes, according to a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The researchers say their study may debunk prior reports supporting the “obesity paradox,” which says being overweight may aid in protecting people from dying from heart disease and other conditions.

Read: The Obesity Paradox: Sometimes Being Overweight Is Actually Healthier For You​

The new study, conducted by researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, used a different methodology than previous research, according to Medical Xpress. Previous studies typically measured body mass index (BMI) at only one point and then looked to see if the patients were alive years later. This study looked at weight history over an extended period of time.

More than 225,000 participants were involved, a majority of whom were white and highly educated. Researchers looked at their highest BMI from a 16-year weight history, and also examined deaths that occurred within an average of 12 years of follow-up. The subjects' causes of death were identified from medical records and death certificates.

The results conclude that the adults who had a BMI in the overweight or obese category had a heightened risk of dying young from any cause, especially heart disease, cancer, and respiratory disease. This data sheds important light on America’s obesity epidemic.

“This is more reason why people should follow a healthy lifestyle and try to keep to a normal weight,” said study author Edward Yu.

More than 2 in 3 U.S. adults are considered overweight or obese, according to the National Institutes of Health.

See also: Insomnia, Obesity, and More: Here’s How Technology Affects Your Health​

Fat Shaming Health Risk: Does Weight Criticism Actually Increase Your Risk Of Cardiovascular, Metabolic Diseases?