Youthful Obesity Causes Death Eight Years Early

July 21, 2010 | Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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 Youthful Obesity Causes Death Eight Years Early
A 60-year study followed the effects of obesity and the rate of early death1 over the course of a lifetime. Those who were obese at age 20 had on average an 8 year shorter life.

The Swedish study compared mortality in a sample of 1,930 obese male military conscripts with that in a random sample of 3,601 non-obese male conscripts. Body mass index (BMI) was measured at the average ages of 20, 35 and 46 years, and the researchers investigated that in relation to death in the next follow-up period. A total of 1,191 men had died during the follow-up period of up to 60 years.

"At age 70 years, 70% of the men in the comparison group and 50% of those in the obese group were still alive and we estimated that from middle age, the obese were likely to die eight years earlier than those in the comparison group," said the study's leader, Esther Zimmermann. More than 70% of the obese young men were still obese at the follow-up examinations.

The researchers also investigated the effect of the broad BMI range on mortality from the age of 20 and found the lowest death risk in the men who had a BMI of 25. Underweight men had a slightly elevated risk, and the risk of early death crept up steadily by 10% for each BMI unit above 25 for those men who were overweight or obese.

This study paints a horrendous quality of life future for large numbers of Americans – not to mention the astronomical costs of care coupled with the loss of productive potential. I wonder when the junk food bubble is going to burst.

Referenced Studies

  1. ^ Early Obesity Predicts Early Death  2010 International Congress on Obesity in Stockholm  Esther Zimmermann, et al.

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