Study of millions confirms link between obesity and premature death

14 July 2016

The premature death risks associated with obesity have been confirmed by a new study of around 3.9 million adults in total.

Carried out by the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, the paper brought together information on the causes of any deaths in 3.9 million adults from 189 previous studies in Europe, North America and elsewhere.

Being overweight or obese was shown to be associated with an increased risk of premature death before the age of 70, with excess weight elevating the likelihood of coronary heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease and cancer.

Overall, the excess risk of premature death among the overweight or obese was shown to be about three times as great in men as in women, while being underweight was also identified as a potential danger.

Assuming that associations between high body mass index and mortality are largely causal, it is estimated that around one in seven deaths in Europe and one in five in North America could be avoided by bringing overweight people down to a normal level.

Study co-author Professor Sir Richard Peto from the University of Oxford said: "Obesity is second only to smoking as a cause of premature death in Europe and North America."

Posted by Philip Briggs


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