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It turns out a few extra kilos may not be such a bad thing, according to a new analysis of nearly three million adults published this week that showed people who are overweight or slightly obese may live longer.

But experts were quick to caution that the possible benefits dropped off when the "few" extra kilos turned into many kilos.

Researchers from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention used data from nearly 100 studies from around the world.

They suggested that those with a few extra kilos may be more likely to receive "optimal medical treatment". They said it was also possible that increased body fat provided metabolic benefits that protect the heart.

The study was published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association.