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Effect of Overweight on Lifespan and Longevity
Obesity Now a Major Cause of Premature Death
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Effect of Obesity & Overweight on Longevity

Weight, Lifespan & Longevity

Obesity & Premature Death

Following interventions by the US Surgeon-General, the spotlight is on obesity as a major cause of premature death. Annual weight-related premature deaths now total 300,000 in the US alone.

Obesity & Lifespan

Now two obesity research programs now confirm that weight influences lifespan. In one obesity study, Dutch researchers examined the medical records and vital statistics of 3,457 middle-aged volunteers who lived in Framingham, Mass.

The other obesity study was co-authored by David Allison, a professor of biostatistics and director of the Clinical Nutrition Research Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Overweight, Obesity & Lifespan Research Findings

  • People who are overweight (aged 40) are likely to die at least three years sooner than those who are normal weight.
  • Obese smokers (aged 40) are likely to die 13-14 years sooner than non-smokers of normal weight.
  • In terms of life expectancy, being fat during middle age is on a par with smoking.
  • Overweight, non-smokers lost an average of three years.
  • Obese female non-smokers lost an average 7.1 years.
  • Obese male non-smokers lost 5.8 years.
  • Whites who lived the longest had a BMI ranging from 23 to 25; for blacks the range was 23 to 30. Why blacks can be heavier than whites and not face the same risk of shorter life spans is unclear. Researchers consider it may be linked to fat distribution in the body.
  • White morbidly obese men - with BMIs over 45 - lost up to 13 years of life.
  • White morbidly obese women lost as many as eight

Sources include: Journal of the American Medical Association; Annals of Internal Medicine


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