Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Obesity Can Shorten Lifespan Up To A Decade

“Obesity shaves two to four years off the average lifespan, while being very obese can shorten your lifespan by 8 to 10 years, according to a new analysis of 57 studies including nearly 900,000 people. Men and women with BMIs between 22.5 and 25 were the least likely to die during the study's follow-up period. ‘This is scary and something that we should pay close attention to,’ says Ali Mokdad, Ph.D., a professor of global health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle. The new findings actually underestimate the true impact of obesity on society because they don't address the costs of obesity-related illness and other factors, says Mokdad, who was not involved with the current study. The study, published online March 18 in the journal The Lancet, was conducted in part by the eminent epidemiologist Sir Richard Peto of the University of Oxford. Peto and his colleagues in the Prospective Studies Collaboration, a team of dozens of researchers from around the world, say they did the new study to figure out exactly how body mass index (BMI) relates to mortality. Researchers also investigated how smoking influenced this relationship and how excess weight affected death risk from specific causes. Given the difficulty of losing weight, the authors of the new study say, it may be best if people are motivated to prevent the weight gain in the first place. For example, a person who held their BMI steady at 28 rather than going up to 32 (typical of the increase seen in middle age) could extend their life by two years, the researchers say, while a young adult who maintained a BMI of 24 rather than going up to 32 could add three years to his lifespan. Health.com: BMI success story: How one woman lost 44 pounds For this to happen here, Mokdad notes, the United States government is going to have to do a much better job of supporting prevention efforts. A ‘bailout’ for such efforts that translated to healthier American and workers could be a pretty effective economic stimulus, he added.”


No comments: