We all know that obesity is bad for you. Carrying around a spare tire or thunder things not only looks bad, it is also bad for your health and severely lowers the odds of a long life.
A recently analysis of 20 different studies, published in PLOS Medicine, shows that severe obesity can shorten someone’s lifespan by up to 14 years. A Body Mass Index (BMI) of more than 40, which is considered to be extremely obese, raises an individual’s chance of having diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or stroke.
The study included over 30 years of data from almost 10,000 extremely obese people, none of whom smoked or had any chronic diseases. They were compared with data from over 300,000 healthy weight adults, making it the largest study of its kind.
“We found that the death rates in severely obese adults were about 2.5 times higher than in adults in the normal weight range,” said lead investigator Cari Kitahara, a research fellow at the U.S. National Cancer Institute. Severe obesity causes 509 more deaths per 100,000 men each year, and 382 more deaths per 100,000 women annually.
People with a BMI of 40 are not just overweight, they are considered extremely obese. A man who stands five-feet ten needs to weigh 280 pounds to have a BMI of 40; a woman standing five-feet-four needs to weigh 235 pounds to have a 40 BMI.
Though losing weight is certainly advised for individuals who are severely obese, it is unclear whether losing weight will significantly improve lifespan. The best defense against a shortened lifespan from obesity is to not become obese in the first place – prevention is far better than a cure.
America is Fat
Extreme obesity is on the rise in the United States; one in six Americans are now considered to be extremely obese. An additional one-third of American adults are considered obese. The number of extremely obese people in the United States has more than quadrupled in the past 30 years.
Is Exercise the Answer to the Obesity Epidemic?
We live in a fast-food, junk-food society and our eating habits certainly contribute to our excess weight. However, according to a study by Stanford University School of Medicine researchers, our lack of exercise may be a bigger culprit than our lousy diet. The study analyzed over 20,000 participants from 1988 through 2010 and found that the number of Americans who don’t exercise has increased significantly while our caloric intake has remained relatively stable.
Whether we need to stop going to the drive-through or we need to get off our fat derrieres and begin exercising, one thing is certain – Americans need to start shedding some excess pounds or they will soon be shedding several extra years!