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Obesity related co-morbidities may take 8 years off one’s life, study

Posted:  Thursday, December 11, 2014

Obesity and related co-morbidities might affect the life expectancy. Canadian researchers found that obesity-related diabetes and heart disease may rob one of almost a decade of life and close to 2 decades of a healthy life.

Though the study found an association between obesity and lifespan, it did not prove that obesity shortens life. The study was published online in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal.

For the study, the researchers used data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey for 2003 through 2010. They created a computer model to estimate the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease in adults of different body weights. The researchers analysed the role played by overweight and obesity on life expectancy and the loss of years of a healthy life among adults aged between 20 to 79 years. The researchers compared these results with normal-weight individuals.

They estimated that being overweight could take off 0 to 3 years of life expectancy depending on age and sex. Obese people showed a setback in their life expectancy ranging from 1 to 6 years, while very obese individuals lost out on 8 years of productive life.

The researchers found that the effect of being overweight or obese on life expectancy was the greatest at a younger age and this association seemed to decrease with age. They also reported that for very obese men and women in their 20s, their years of living free from diabetes or heart disease were cut by about 19 years. "Not only is excess body weight associated with a significant reduction in life expectancy, but with an even greater reduction in healthy life years," said lead researcher Dr. Steven Grover.

It is a well-known fact that obesity heightens the risk of major chronic diseases, notably heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer. Dr. David Katz, Director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center rightly said, "Reversing and preventing obesity would translate directly into the addition of life to years, and of years to life."

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