19 March 2009
by Kounteya Sinha
New Delhi, India
Obesity cuts lifespan by 10 yrs: UK report
Study On 10 Lakh People Finds Most Obese Adults Die Of Stroke
Oxford University researchers reported their finding in Wednesday’s issue of medical journal The Lancet after analyzing the body mass index (BMI) of a million people who had been weighed and measured in 57 separate studies in Europe and North America. People in the study were followed for up to 20 years, during which time 100,000 died.
Those with a BMI of 30–35 lost three years while severely obese people with the BMI of 40–50 had reduced life expectancy by about 10 years.
Epidemiologist Dr Gary Whitlock, who led the analysis, said, “Excess weight shortens human lifespan. If you are becoming overweight or obese, avoiding further weight gain could well add years to your life.” The study’s main statistician, Sir Richard Peto, said people should make a conscious effort against piling on the pounds, which most often happens between the ages of 25 and 50. The study said most obese adults die of heart disease and stroke, although cancer figures are also rising.
According to the international BMI scale, more than 25 is considered overweight and more than 30 obese. However, Indian standards differ. Recent guidelines released by India put the country’s new diagnostic cut–off for being considered overweight at 23. As far as obesity is concerned, Indians with a BMI of 25 are now clinically termed as obese.
According to diabetes and metabolic diseases expert Anoop Mishra, by the new Indian standards, the BMI of a rural Indian is 19.6, those living in urban slums is 20.9, those residing in urban cities is 22.4 and of Indians living in foreign shores is 24.7. In comparison, the average BMI of the Chinese is 22.8, Whites 26.3, Blacks 28.5 and Mexicans 25.7. “The best BMI to have, say Oxford researchers, is 24–the group with the lowest mortality rate. In Indians, it would be those with a BMI of 20,” Dr. Mishra said.
The Big Issue
Oxford University scientists took into account 57 studies done on 10 lakh people in Europe and North America
During the two–decade–old study, one lakh people died
Those with a BMI (body mass index) of 30–35 lost three years while severely obese people with the BMI of 40–50 had reduced life expectancy by 10 years