We knew all along that being overweight is bad for us, but now, that knowledge is backed by irrefutable scientific data.
A huge study studied 3.9 million adults, from 189 previous studies, in 4 continents, measuring the risk of death in overweight participants, compared to non-overweight participants. Only non smokers, aged between 20 -90, without any chronic illnesses were included in the study. They were followed up for 5 years to examine who survived, and who died.
Underweight: BMI 15-20
Normal Weight: BMI 20 – 25
Overweight: BMI 25-30
Obesity Grade 1: BMI 30-35
Obesity Grade 2: BMI 35-40
Obesity Grade 3: BMI more than 40
Findings from the study:
1) Life expectancy was decreased in people who are overweight, with a decrease in 1 year life for overweight people, and decrease in life expectancy of 3 years for obesity grade 2
2) Being overweight was linked to increased coronary heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, and cancer
3) Overweight men are at greater risk of premature death than overweight women: the risk is 3 times as great
4) There is also increased risk of premature deaths in UNDERWEIGHT people. Even slightly being underweight (BMI 18.5-20) carried a slightly increased risk.
What This Means For Us
There are limitations to the study: it only measured BMI, and did not take into account fat distribution, muscle mass, etc. However, even that was enough to produce frightening results. If all these were taken into consideration, the risks of death in overweight people should be even higher.
The study only studied the participants for 5 years – meaning, in the longer term, we will also expect the health risks of obesity to be EVEN HIGHER.
What these all means, is an important wake up call to us all: aim for a healthy weight, neither underweight, nor overweight, in order to live a long, disease-free life.