MONTREAL, Canada, Thursday December 11, 2014 – At this time of year, when many of us throw caution to the wind and appear hell-bent on gastronomic and alcoholic suicide, it may be worth taking time out to start counting the calories and considering the cost, the latter of which appears significant judging from the latest research.
According to a new Canadian study, severe obesity can wipe up to eight years off your life and cause decades of ill health.
Especially noteworthy was the discovery that being obese from a young age was more damaging to health and life expectancy than piling on the pounds in later years.
Researchers at McGill University in Montreal said heart problems and type 2 diabetes were major sources of disability and death, adding that people were frequently “ignorant” of the consequences of obesity.
The scientists demonstrated the likely consequences using a computer model to calculate the impact of weight on life expectancy and health at various stages throughout life.
Published in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, the report showed that in comparison with 20 to 39-year-olds with a healthy weight, severely obese men of the same age lost 8.4 years of life and women lost 6.1 years.
In the same age group, obese men also spent 18.8 more years living in poor health while obese women endured 19.1 years of ill health.
In the next age group analysed – persons in their forties and fifties – men lost 3.7 years and women 5.3 years to obesity.
In their sixties and seventies, both men and women lost just one year of life to obesity, but still faced seven years of poor health.
According to the research team’s Professor Steven Grover: “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.
“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.”