Researching the impact of various diseases and conditions is not easy. In order to really grasp how harmful they are for the patients and societies around the world, global long-term studies are necessary. Now scientists did just that – they conducted a global study of 3.9 million adults on obesity and found that it increases risk of premature death.
Although it is already very important discovery, it does not end here. Scientists also found that premature death, associated with obesity is about three times as great in men as in women. It is related to coronary heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease and cancer – the risk of all of them increases with getting obese. Premature death, described as dying before 70, is only a short explanation. In the bigger picture study revealed that overweight people lose about one year of life expectancy, and moderately obese people lose about three years of life expectancy.
Of course, study also found that underweight people also face increased risk of premature death, but for the developed world it is not as much of a problem as obesity. According to the World Health Organization, 1.3 billion adults worldwide are overweight and 600 million are obese, with prevalence of adult obesity of 20% in Europe and 31% in North America. And the risk of premature death increases steadily and steeply as BMI increases.
Dr Emanuele Di Angelantonio, lead author of the study, said: “We also found that men who were obese were at much higher risk of premature death than obese women. This is consistent with previous observations that obese men have greater insulin resistance, liver fat levels, and diabetes risk than women”.
The numbers look like this: obesity increases the risk of premature death from 19% for men and 11% for women to 29.5% and 14.6% respectively. However, methods of the research were as interesting as the results. Scientists took a look at 3.9 million adults, aged from 20 to 90 years. All of the participants were not smoking and did not have any chronic diseases. Their BMI was recorded and monitored, but only the data of those, who survived for at least five years since the beginning of the research, was taken into consideration.
This research has a very important message. Obesity is not a disease without a cure. Scientists calculate that because obesity can be avoided, at least one in 7 premature deaths can be avoided too.