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Extreme Obesity Cuts Lifespan More Than Smoking




7/9/2014 4:15 PM ET

Those who are extremely obese, i.e. with a BMI above 40, die much earlier than their less obese counterparts, according to research conducted at the National Cancer Institute. The meta-study, published in the journal PLOS Medicine, found that those carrying at least 100 pounds over their ideal weight die 6.5 to 13.7 years sooner than those with healthy weights.
BMI is calculated by dividing weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. Obesity is a BMI of 30 or higher (180 lbs at 5 feet 5 inches), while extreme obesity is 40 or higher, i.e. 241 lbs at the same height. Those who are extremely obese typically need to lose 100 lbs or more to attain a healthy weight. About six percent of American adults are extremely overweight.

"If current global trends in obesity continue, we must expect to see substantially increased rates of mortality due to these major causes of death, as well as increasing healthcare costs," the authors of the study said.