How Extra Pounds Lead To Early Death

Most of us know  that America, as a nation, struggles with obesity.  Just look around.  But it may surprise you to know that waistlines are expanding everywhere, and it’s killing people far too early.

For the first time in human history, there are more obese people in the world than underweight people.

Across the globe, about 13% of the entire world’s population is obese, while the number of people who are underweight hovers around 9%.  North America is the fattest continent, with an obesity rate of about 31%, 20% of Europe’s population is obese.

The obesity rate has climbed sharply worldwide in the last 50 years, with no end in sight, bringing with it early death.

According to analysis by the Global BMI Mortality Collaboration, which studied nearly four million people worldwide, being obese can shave an entire decade off a person’s life expectancy.  Even just being slightly overweight can shorten your life by one to three years.  These findings refute earlier research claiming carrying a few extra pounds poses no health risks.

Lead author Emanuele Di Angelantonio told AFP the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease and cancer “are all increased,” in proportion to amount of increased fat a person carries.  He added, “Severely obese people lose about 10 years of life expectancy, which represents a one-in-two chance of dying before 70.”


The study found obese men were three times more likely than obese women to die prematurely.  This corresponds with previous research showing obese men have more difficulty with diabetes, fatty liver disease and insulin resistance than obese women.

Researchers discovered that men of normal weight between the ages of 35 and 70 have a 19% chance of early death, while obese men have a 30% chance of early death.  Women in the same age group of normal weight have an 11% chance of early death, while obese women have a 15% chance.

That means if obese people were normal weight instead, it would prevent early the deaths of

  • 1 in 5 North Americans
  • 1 in 6 Australians
  • 1 in 7 Europeans
  • 1 in 20 East Asians

Obesity is identified with a high body mass index, which is a measure of body fat based on height and weight.  What’s your BMI?  The World Health Organization, determined the following classifications:

  • 18.5 to 24.9 is NORMAL
  • 25.0 to 25.9 is OVERWEIGHT
  • 30.0 to 34.9 is MODERATELY OBESE
  • 35.0 to 39.9 is SEVERELY OBESE
  • 40 & above  is MORBIDLY OBESE

Written by How Africa

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