People who are overweight and obese are cutting years off of their life, but just how many? New research has put a number to how obesity could be affecting life expectancy.
It’s been estimated that being obese could cut your life expectancy by eight years as well as deprive you of 19 years of good health, according to a study by McGill University in Canada and published in The journal The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology.
The researchers looked at data from national surveys in the US to estimate the risk of developing health problems in adults of different body weights. It was found that people who were classified as overweight (had a body mass index between 25 and 30) could lose up to three years’ life expectancy. Those who were obese (had a BMI of 30 to 35) lost up to six years on average. The most years of life lost, 8 years, were those who were severely obese (had a BMI of 35 or more.)
The decrease in life expectancy for people who are obese can often be because of the increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer that they face. Obesity affects more than one-third of adults and 17 percent of youth in the US, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC.)
In 2013, no state had an obesity rate below 21 percent, estimates the CDC, with two states now having obesity rates that exceed 35 percent for the first time as well as 20 states that have obesity rates at or above 30 percent.
Obesity occurs when you eat and drink more calories than you burn through exercise and normal daily activities. Your body stores these extra calories as fat. Obesity usually results from a combination of causes and contributing factors, including genetics, lifestyle, inactivity, unhealthy diet and eating habits and others.