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Weight and Obesity

Obesity Can Shave up to 20 Years Off Lifespan

16 years ago

2042  0
Posted on Nov 10, 2003, 11 p.m. By Bill Freeman

Being obese could shave as much as 20 years off your lifespan, suggest the results of two recent studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Annals of Internal Medicine. Both studies showed that obesity is particularly life-shortening for those in their 20s and 30s. Results of the JAMA study, by Dr David B Allison from the University of Alabama in Birmingham, and colleagues, showed that severely obese white men aged 20 to 30 years can expect to die roughly 13 years earlier than white men of normal body weight.

Being obese could shave as much as 20 years off your lifespan, suggest the results of two recent studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Annals of Internal Medicine. Both studies showed that obesity is particularly life-shortening for those in their 20s and 30s.

Results of the JAMA study, by Dr David B Allison from the University of Alabama in Birmingham, and colleagues, showed that severely obese white men aged 20 to 30 years can expect to die roughly 13 years earlier than white men of normal body weight. While severely obese women - that is women with a BMI (body mass index) of 45 and over - can expect to lose about eight years off their lifespan. However, obesity seems to hit young black men the hardest - results showed that being severely obese can shorten their lifespan by as much as 20 years. Meanwhile, young black women faired better than white women did, as they can expect to live for 5 years less than their thinner counterparts do.

Allison's findings are supported by results of a study by Dr Anna Peeters from Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, which is published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Their results showed that obese, non-smoking women lived seven fewer years and obese, non-smoking men lived for roughly six fewer years than their normal-weight peers did. Peeters and colleagues conclude: "The smoking epidemic in the western world is waning; however, a new fear should be the increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity in young adults, which heralds another potentially preventable public health disaster."

SOURCE/REFERENCE: Journal of the American Medical Association 2003; 289:187-193, 229-230; Annals of Internal Medicine 2003; 138; 24-32

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