People who are overweight but exercise regularly will likely live longer and healthier lives than those who are at or under their "ideal" weight but never make it to the gym or lace up a pair of running shoes.

So says a British research study reported by WebMD News. The study found that 20 minutes of determined walking could reduce one's risk of early death by as much as 30 percent.

This wasn't any tiny survey sample, either. The researcher team, led by a University of Cambridge scientist, examined data from some 334,000 individual health records. The 12-year study tracked height, weight, waist circumference and level of physical activity.

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.