A new study shows that obesity causes 20% of the premature deaths recorded in America.
The excess of body weight is linked to chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, respiratory troubles, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. However, a recent analysis shows that obese people have lower survival rates than the general population.
As a person gains extra pounds, the risk of disease and complications rise higher and higher. This, in fact, shortens life expectancy and brings along the risk of premature death.
The Large-Scale Obesity Study
The study involved 10.6 million case stories from 32 countries. Each case had a documented medical history of 14 years. The researchers recorded information about the participants referring to their weight and health issues.
The data included information on 1.6 billion people who died during the 14 years of the study, either by natural death or by a medical condition.
The cases excluded current and former smokers and individuals that already had chronic diseases at the beginning of the study, and people who died in the first five years of the monitoring.
The total number of persons reached to a total of 4 million adults from all over the world.
The obesity indicator was considered to be the body mass index, which calculates the proportion between the body weight and height. The international standard declared a normal index to be between 18.5 and 25. From 25 up to 30, the person is considered to be overweight. Between 30 and 35 the person is moderately obese, and every person that goes up from 40 is declared severely obese.
The researchers tried to make correlations between the weight of the participants and the risk of premature death, which refers to a person who had a health issue accelerating their end.
The Statistical Truth
The conclusion of the study contradicts the earlier theory that overweight people may live life longer.
In America, 1 in 5 premature deaths is connected to extra body weight. In Europe, the percentage is of 1 in 7.
The researchers say that overweight people lose one year of life expectancy. Moderately obese people lose three years, and obese individuals can cut short their lives with up to five years.
Another aspect investigated in the study that proved to be significant was the gender of the subjects. Thus, obese men were more exposed to premature death risks than fat women.
The World Health Organization reports show that 1.3 billion adults worldwide are overweight. Another 600 million people are obese.
While the prevalence of obesity reaches 20% in Europe, in North America the percentage goes up to 31%.
Moreover, a person with a normal body mass index had the lowest risk of dying before the age of 70. As the weight/height proportion increased, the risk of premature death raised too, reaching a 31% risk for overweight people.
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