According to recent statistics, there are approximately 78.6 million adults in the United States who are considered obese. With this continuing to be a major problem, a new study was conducted to determine if the statistics are as dire as they appear to be. The findings of this new study were published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology.
Researchers conducted the study at McGill University and what they discovered is that not only do statistics support the number of people with obesity but that being obese can shorten lifespan by as much as eight years. They also found that carrying around extra weight can shorten a person’s average life by up to 20 years of health years because of risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Lead author of the study, professor and epidemiologist Steven Grover, MD, stated that the age at which a person puts on extra weight is a key factor. He added that the outcome is far worse for people who gained weight while young.
As part of the study, Dr. Grover along with his team used data collected about 4,000 people associated with the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which is used to analyze excess body weight contribution compared to lost years of life, as well as healthy years lost.
Dr. Grover found that people who were close to being obese were at risk for a shortened lifespan up to eight years. Then for people already obese, life lost was up to six years. Then for individuals who were overweight opposed to being obese, potential loss of life was three years.
Someone overweight would have a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 29.9 while obesity is 30 an above. The ideal BMI is 18.5 to 25. To determine BMI, an individual’s weight and height are calculated.
The patterned identified in this study shows that the more weight an individual carries and the younger the age the greater effect there is on health. According to Dr. Grover, as far as life-expectancy, being overweight is just as bad as smoking cigarettes.
At the end of the study, a three-year study in community pharmacies across the US was launched in an effort to determine if providing people who are overweight with information would make a difference in eating and physical activity levels.
In closing, Dr. Grover added that the clinically meaning models are actually useful for patients, as well as their healthcare providers. With this, it is easier to understand and appreciate issues and benefits of making healthy lifestyle choices.