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Extreme Obesity Can Shorten Lifespan by 14 Years

ObesityObesity is regarded a serious health disorder in the United States. As per new Gallup data, the obesity rate for the year 2014 is 27.7 percent. According to the report, only about 35% of people come under the class of normal weight. It has been established that being overweight and obese can increase the risk of many health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. The National Institutes of Health (NIF) reported on a new study by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) says that people who are obese have an increased chance of dying at an early age from these conditions. The research findings were published in the July 8, 2014 issue of PLOS Medicine.

The study was based on data from 20 studies conducted in three countries – the United States, Sweden and Australia. It was found that people with class III or extreme obesity had a significant reduction in life expectancy when compared with people of normal weight. Reports reveal that in the US about six percent of adults are now classified as extremely obese, which means being more than 100 pounds over the recommended range for normal weight for a person of average height.

The researchers classified participants according to their BMI (body mass index) as follows:

  • Normal weight – 18.5-24.9
  • Overweight – 25.0-29.9
  • Class I obesity – 30.0-34.9
  • Class II obesity – 35.0-39.9
  • Class III obesity – 40.0 or higher

On assessing the reasons for early death risk in over 9,500 individuals who were categorized as extremely obese and about 304,000 individuals who were classified as normal weight, the study found that:

  • Those classified under the class III obesity group had the risk of dying overall and from most major health issues due to increasing BMI
  • A large number of deaths in the class III obesity group was mostly due to heart disease, cancer and diabetes
  • Participants who come under BMI group of 40-44.9 were more likely to lose around 6 years of their life, while those with BMI of 55-59.9 had a reduction in life expectancy by 13.7 years.

The results of the study emphasize the growing need to develop effective interventions in the form of healthy diet patterns and weight loss programs to combat obesity. Eating and physical activity patterns aimed at reducing calorie intake, making informed food choices, and being physically active can help people achieve and maintain a healthy weight, reduce their risk of chronic disease, promote overall health, and extend lifespan.

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