What's more unhealthy: carrying a few extra pounds or lighting up a cigarette? It's turns out that both may be equally hazardous for your health, suggests to the results of a new study from the National Cancer Institute in Maryland.
For many years, excessive weight was considered to be a concern of vanity rather than health, until scientists started discovering that the fat cells were not cells that did nothing; instead they were performing functions in the body. Specifically, the fat cells were releasing hormones that were interfering with the immune system's ability to fight against foreign invaders, including cancer cells. And the negative effects don't stop there.
The scientists calculated the number of years lost from a person's life from the morbid obesity based on the BMI, or basal metabolic index. For example, those who had a BMI between 40 and 44.9 would potentially lose 6.5 years of life. A BMI of 45 to 49.9 meant the loss of 8.9 years; someone with a BMI of 50 to 54.9 could potentially lose 9.8 years, and more than a decade 13.7 years could potentially be lost in someone with a BMI of 55 to 59.9.
Men who were extremely obese had a higher death rate than women who were extremely obese, (856 deaths versus 663, measured in deaths per 100,000 per year). Comparing this to those of normal weight, there were only 347 deaths in men and 281 deaths in women among people of normal weight compared to obese people; quite a significant finding.
"Importantly, the number of years of life lost continues to increase for BMI values above 50 kg/m, and beyond this point, the loss of life expectancy exceeds that associated with smoking among normal-weight people," wrote the editors of the journal that published the study, PLoS One Medicine.
The findings were based on a pooled analysis of 20 prospective studies from the U.S., Australia, and Sweden.Researchers also found that once someone with the excessive weight passes the age of 40, there's a much greater threat of dying from cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
Age Group 1:
Height BMI Weight Years Lost BMI Weight Years Lost
5'0" 40-44.9 200-235 lbs 6.5 45-49.9 230-255 lbs 8.9
5'3" 40-44.9 225-255 lbs 6.5 45-49.9 254-262 lbs 8.9
5'5" 40-44.9 250-280 lbs 6.5 45-49.9 270-300 lbs 8.9
5'7" 40-44.9 255-295 lbs 6.5 45-49.9 277-319 lbs 8.9
5'10" 40-44.9 280-315 lbs 6.5 45-49.9 313-348 lbs 8.9
6' 40-44.9 295-335 lbs 6.5 45-49.9 331-368 lbs 8.9
Age Group 2:
5'0" 50-54.9 255-285 lbs 9.8 55+ 285+ 13.7
5'3" 50-54.9 267-297 lbs 9.8 55+ 297+ 13.7
5'5" 50-54.9 300-330 lbs 9.8 55+ 330+ 13.7
5'7" 50-54.9 319-349 lbs 9.8 55+ 349+ 13.7
5'10" 50-54.9 348-368 lbs 9.8 55+ 368+ 13.7
6' 50-54.9 368-398 lbs 9.8 55+ 398+ 13.7
(Values estimated for 54.9 BMI and above.)
Is there a solution?
What's interesting is that studies like this one are continually pointing to the correlation between certain habits and early death rates. Yet, it's as if many people are not listening or there are other causes of disease and death that traditional medicine is not taking into consideration.
One of the major changes in society has been in the area of food supply. Medical doctor William Davis, a cardiologist and author of the best selling book, Wheat Belly, explains in his book that genetically-modified wheat ends up causing addiction-like substances that are active in the brain, and this is related to the desire to continue eating more and more wheat. Can this contribute to morbid obesity? Absolutely, especially since the glycemic index of wheat is high and the food contributes to higher than usual release of insulin each time the food is eaten. This release of excess insulin in turn, may result in diabetes.
How can you stay on top of some of these latest changes that are occurring in society that are impacting your health? Work with your chiropractor
. He or she has an extensive background in many aspects of health, likely attends regular conferences, and would love to share information with you on how you can stay healthy and do it naturally.
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Kitahara, C.M., et al. Association between Class III Obesity (BMI of 40-59 kg/m2) and Mortality: A Pooled Analysis of 20 Prospective Studies. PLoS Med 2014 Jul 8; 11 (7): e1001673.