Overweight and obesity in adulthood are linked to an increased risk for death and disease.
However, their potential effect on life expectancy and premature death has not previously been described.
|"Prevention and treatment of obesity should become high priorities in public health".|
|Annals of Internal Medicine|
In this study, researchers from the Netherlands analyzed reductions in life expectancy and increases in premature death associated with overweight and obesity at 40 years of age.
The team performed a prospective cohort study to assess 3457 participants in the Framingham Heart Study.
Participants were 30 to 49 years of age at baseline.
Researchers derived mortality rates specific for age and body mass index group (normal weight, overweight, or obese at baseline), within sex and smoking status strata.
In addition, life expectancy, and the probability of death before 70 years of age were analyzed using life tables.
The team identified large decreases in life expectancy associated with overweight and obesity.
They found that 40 year old female nonsmokers lost 3.3 years of their life expectancy because of over weight, while 40 year old male nonsmokers lost 3.1 years.
Furthermore, 40 year old female nonsmokers lost 7.1 years due to obesity, whereas 40 year old male nonsmokers lost 5.8 years.
When compared with normal-weight smokers, obese female smokers lost 7.2 years and obese male smokers lost 6.7 years of their life expectancy.
However, when compared with normal-weight nonsmokers, obese female smokers lost 13.3 years and obese male smokers lost 13.7 years.
The research team also found that body mass index at ages 30 to 49 years predicted mortality after ages 50 to 69 years, even after adjustment for body mass index at age 50 to 69 years.
Dr Anna Peeters's team concluded, "Obesity and overweight in adulthood are associated with large decreases in life expectancy and increases in early mortality".
"These decreases are similar to those seen with smoking".
"Obesity in adulthood is a powerful predictor of death at older ages".
"Because of the increasing prevalence of obesity, more efficient prevention and treatment should become high priorities in public health".