The most recent worldwide statistics have found that over 600 million people are obese. Experts say that obesity has now been linked as the primary cause in one out of five premature deaths. The Harvard School of Public Health has stated that by being overweight, your risk of death is over two times as high, and is even greater a risk for women.
"Obesity is second only to smoking as a cause of premature death in America," explained Richard Peto, from the University of Oxford in England. "Smoking causes about a quarter of all premature deaths in Europe and North America, and smokers can halve their risk of premature death by stopping. But overweight and obesity now cause about one in seven of all premature deaths in Europe and one in five of all premature deaths in North America."
A study that was conducted recently at Oxford and that was published in The Lancet culled data from over 10.6 million men and women who were between the ages of 20 and 90. The data came from around the world. During the 14-year study, 1.6 million of those who were participating died. After examining the data, researchers concluded that men of a healthy weight only had a 19% risk of death before age 70, whereas once obese, this risk jumped to 30%. For women of healthy weight, their risk of death before 70 was just 11%; but with obesity factored in, this rate climbed to 15%.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that obesity increases your risk of contracting numerous diseases ranging from heart disease to cancer, diabetes and others, the most preventable yet leading causes of death in the U.S. and around the world.
"There has long been clear and decisive evidence linking obesity to increased risk for the major chronic diseases that are in turn linked to increased risk for premature death," wrote Dr. David Katz, the president of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. "The obesity pandemic continues to advance, putting ever more of humanity at risk. What we already had abundant cause to think, that risk includes early death. This constitutes an urgent call for corrective actions at a global scale."