How Much Does Obesity Reduce Life Expectancy? Risk Factors Of Obesity

Obesity Reduce Life Expectancy

Here we discuss how much does obesity reduce life expectancy. In the modern world, one of the most severe issues is that of adult obesity. The prevalence of obesity nearly tripled to 35.1% of people between 1962 and 2006. No specific socioeconomic category or the United States alone is affected by the increased prevalence of obesity.

Should we be concerned about this widespread obesity epidemic? The answer is categorical “yes” from the perspective of one’s own health.

Factors That Cause Obesity Which Reduces Life Expectancy

Obesity and ageing share a range of characteristics, including altered tissue and body composition, worsened systemic inflammation, compromised genomic integrity, impaired mitochondrial function, accumulation of intracellular macromolecules, and weakened immunology. 

In addition, obesity has been demonstrated to shorten life expectancy by 5.8 years in men and 7.1 years in women after age 40.

Obesity’s comprehensive acceleration of aging at many levels may be the cause of a shorter life expectancy.

Obesity alters the DNA methylation pattern, which is linked to epigenetic aging in several organs and endangers the integrity of nuclear DNA and mitochondrial DNA

Additionally, telomere shortening, systemic inflammation, and functional losses are observed in obese people along with other aging-related symptoms.

Thus, in reality, obesity and ageing are the two sides of the same coin, as it predisposes an individual to age-related conditions, illness, and disease. 

According to a study from Oxford University, extreme obesity, which is still relatively rare, can decrease a person’s life by 10 years whereas moderate obesity, which is now widespread, reduces life expectancy by roughly 3 years.

This ten-year loss is equivalent to the consequences of a lifetime of smoking!

The analysis combined information from 57 lengthy research projects, the majority of which were centered in Europe or North America.

It was the largest ever study of how obesity influences mortality because participants were followed for an average of 10 to 15 years during which around 100,000 people passed away. 

Body mass index (BMI) was employed in the research to measure obesity. BMI is computed by multiplying a person’s height in meters by their square of weight in kilograms (kg) (m).

A person is considered moderately obese if their BMI is between 30 and 35; extremely obese if it is between 40 and 50. BMI is a useful tool for determining how much fat tissue negatively impacts health, despite its limitations.

Mortality was lowest among the 900,000 men and women in the research who had a BMI of 23 to 24. This means that, for example, if a man were 1.70m (5 feet 7 inches) tall, their ideal weight would be around 70kg (154 pounds or 11 stone).

Excess weight shortens human longevity, according to Oxford University epidemiologist Dr. Gary Whitlock, who oversaw the investigation. A third over the ideal weight reduces lifespan in nations like Britain and America by roughly 3 years. 

A third above ideal means carrying 20 to 30 kilograms (50 to 60 pounds, or 4 stone) of extra weight for the majority of people. Avoiding more weight gain could potentially add years to your life if you are on the verge of being overweight or obese.

The study’s principal statistician, Professor Sir Richard Peto of Oxford University, compared the dangers of obesity and smoking and stated: “This study has demonstrated that continuing to smoke is as risky as doubling your body weight, and three times as dangerous as moderate obesity.

It is not possible to extend life by making dietary changes while continuing to smoke. The most important thing is that smoking cessation works for smokers.

The longevity was cut by three years in people who were moderately obese (BMI 30 to 35, which is today typical). Similar to the impact of a lifetime of smoking, severe obesity (defined as a BMI of 40 to 50, which is still uncommon) decreased life expectancy by around 10 years.

Although severe obesity is more prevalent in North America than in Europe, moderate obesity, which shortens lifespan by barely a third compared to smoking, is far more prevalent in both regions.

Additionally, those with a BMI significantly below 23 to 24 had a greater death rate. Compared to non-smokers, this risk was much higher for smokers. The precise cause of this is still a mystery.

The body mass index (BMI), a measurement of total body fat that is derived by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by their height in metres squared, was used by researchers to categorize study participants. BMI categories (measured in kilograms/square metres) include:

  • Normal Weight range: 18.5-24.9
  • Overweight range: 25–29.9
  • Obesity Class I range: 30.0–34.9
  • Class II obesity ranges from 35.0 to 39.9, whereas class III obesity is defined as 40.0 or higher.

Because it affects the entire body, obesity poses a risk to health. For example, in the United States, obesity and its repercussions are more lethal than cancer and are either the root cause of or closely related to a number of medical issues, such as:

  • hypoventilation syndrome
  • Stroke
  • obstructive sleep apnea
  • idiopathic intracranial hypertension
  • Cataracts
  • coronary artery disease
  • non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • pancreatitis
  • diabetes
  • Dyslipidemia
  • gallbladder disease
  • Hypertension
  • venous stasis
  • abnormal menses
  • polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • infertility
  • cancer(breast, uterus, cervix, prostate, kidney, colon, oesophagus, pancreas, liver)
  • osteoarthritis
  • gout

Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is another condition that is linked to obesity, particularly when there is an increase in adipose tissue in the belly.

The term “metabolic syndrome” really refers to a group of illnesses that can co-occur and raise the risk of other diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

At least three of these conditions must be present to diagnose metabolic syndrome:

• Waist measurements of 40 inches or more for men and 35 inches or more for women

• a need for medication or a fasting blood sugar level of more than 100 mg/dL

• a need for medication or triglycerides above 150 mg/dL

• An HDL cholesterol level of less than 40 mg/dL in men or 50 mg/dL in women, or the requirement for medication

•    when blood pressure is more than 130 mmHg systolic or more than 85 mmHg diastolic, or there is a need for medications

Although obesity increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, it also raises the mortality rate for several types of cancer.

As many as one in four heart attack or stroke fatalities and one in 16 cancer deaths among middle-aged persons in the UK can be attributed to being overweight or obese.

The statistics are much worse in the US, where middle-aged people tend to weigh a few more kilograms: being overweight or obese contributes to one in three heart attack or stroke fatalities and one in 12 cancer deaths there.

However, long-term benignity is not a feature of metabolically healthy obesity. According to studies, 30 to 40 percent of obese people will eventually experience metabolic issues following six years of observation. 

Patients who do not yet have metabolic issues must alter their lifestyle and eating habits because the concept of “healthy obesity” is not a static situation.

Given that these individuals still have a higher risk of morbidity and death than the general population, this will aid in preventing these issues from arising.

However, making sincere efforts in changing the lifestyle, cutting off extra calories, consuming only natural sugar such as those in fruits, replacing meals with less calorific value foods, exercising, and maintaining a healthy routine can help a great deal in curing the problem of the grassroots level and redeem the ageing process.  

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