The health cost of being obese is becoming clearer. A new report finds that men dealing with severe obesity can expect to live eight fewer years than people who have a healthy weight.
The report, which comes from Montreal, Quebec’s McGill University and has been published in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, said obesity can be connected to heart disease and type 2 diabetes, both of which can cause disability and even death.
The McGill researchers reached their findings by using a computer model capable of calculating obesity’s impact on health throughout the human life cycle. When the model focused on people aged 20 to 39, it found that those men with a healthy weight lived approximately 8.4 years longer than severely obese men. Obese women lost 6.1 years when compared to women of a healthy weight.
The McGill team hopes their report will draw more attention to the costs of obesity. They say too many people are “ignorant” of the consequences of living with an unhealthy weight.
“Our computer modelling study shows that obesity is associated with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, and diabetes that will, on average, dramatically reduce an individual’s life expectancy,” noted McGill’s Dr. Steven Grover.
“The pattern is clear. The more an individual weighs and the younger their age, the greater the effect on their health, as they have many years ahead of them during which the increased health risks associated with obesity can negatively impact their lives,” Grover added.
Barbara Dinsdale, a lifestyle manager at Heart Research UK, says it’s time for people to “wake up” to the dangers of obesity. “This research study yet again supports the clear message that by becoming obese you not only take years off your life, but also life off your years in terms of experiencing more years in poor health rather than enjoying a happy, active and productive life,” Dinsdale said.