A recent study shows that obesity can reduce up to eight years of life expectancy and deprive people of as much as 19 years of good health.
Researchers found that overweight people, who had a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 29.9, were estimated to lose between zero and three years of expected life, according to a paper that appeared in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal on Friday.
According to the research, people in the obese category, with a BMI of 30 to 34.9, lost between 0.8 and 5.9 years of life expectancy. The extremely obese, with a BMI of 35 or more, also lost between 0.9 and 8.4 years of life.
However, the biggest area of concern is for young people who become obese, the study suggests.
“The pattern is clear…The more an individual weighs and the younger their age, the greater the effect on their health…They have many years ahead of them, during which the increased health risks associated with obesity can negatively impact their lives,” said Steven Grover, a professor of epidemiology at Canada’s McGill University in Montreal.
Grover and his team analyzed the risk of early death and ill health among adults of different body weight from data by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which monitored thousands of people over years.
According to a study by the UK-based consulting firm McKinsey Global Institute, nearly half the world’s adult population will be overweight or obese by 2030 should present trends continue.
Limiting the size of portions in packaged fast food, parental education, and introducing healthy meals in schools and workplaces are among some ways to prevent obesity.