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Obese Men Three Times More Likely To Die Before Age 70

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Obesity is close to three times deadlier for men that for women, a new study suggests.

Researchers studied data from 3.9 million adult men and women worldwide, aged 20 to 90. The data came from 189 prior studies, including information on all those who lived at least another five years. They found that the risk of death before the age of 70 was at 19% for men and 11% for women of normal weight, HealthDay News reports.

The risk of death leaped to 30% and 15%, respectively, for obese men and women. Researchers note that that is an increased risk of 11% for men and 4% for women.

Over the time the study took place, close to 400,000 participants died. The study also showed that underweight people had a high mortality rate.

Richard Peto, lead researcher and professor of medical statistics and epidemiology at the University of Oxford in England, said that obesity is the second cause of premature deaths in the USA, topped only by smoking. He said,

If you could lose about 10 percent of your weight, a woman would knock 10 percent off the risk of dying before she was 70, and for a man it would knock about 20 percent off.

The reasons why obese men have more chances of dying are unclear. Dr. Emanuel Di Angelantonio, co-author on the study and a lecturer at the University of Cambridge in England, said that their study was not able to determine the why, but “previous observations have suggested that obese men have greater insulin resistance, liver fat levels and diabetes risk than women.”

Barry Graubard from the US National Cancer Institute said that more studies are necessary to explore the relationship between obesity and mortality. Graubard wrote an accompanying editorial to the study.

Preventing obesity is clearly beneficial to both men and women, Graubard said, as previous research has shown that exercise can contribute to lessening mortality rates.

The World Health Organization pegs the number of overweight adults at 1.3 billion globally, and 600 million ae obese. Obesity has been strongly associated with heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes in multiple researchers.

Dr. David Katz, president of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, said that this study goes past the limitations of previous researches and “renders a clear and emphatic verdict – obesity increases the risk of premature death around the globe.”

He added that the study confirms that the mortality risk extends across overweight and obese people, and that it gives plenty of reasons for people to take steps towards preventing premature deaths due to obesity by preventing obesity itself.

The study was published in The Lancet.

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