By Courtney Pomeroy

LANHAM, Md. (WNEW) — Extreme obesity can take more years off a person’s life than smoking can, new research suggests.

Weighing approximately 100 pounds more than the weight deemed healthy for a person’s height is associated with a greater loss of life expectancy than smoking is among normal-weight people, according to a study published this week in PLOS Medicine.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, a person with a Body Mass Index between 25 and 29.9 is overweight. Anything higher than that is obese.

For example, a 5-foot-9 person would be considered overweight if they weighed between 169 and 202 pounds, and obese if they weighed 203 pounds or more. A 5-foot-4 person would be considered obese if they weighed more than 174 pounds.


Health conditions associated with obesity include heart disease, stroke, diabetes, certain cancers, liver disease, sleep apnea, cartilage degeneration, reproductive complications and even mental health conditions.

While smokers at a healthy weight and people with a BMI of 45 to 45.9 both had an estimated average of 8.9 years of life lost (compared with normal weight, non-smokers), those with BMIs of 50 to 54.9 lost 9.8 years, and those with BMIs of 55 to 59.9 lost 13.7 years, the research says.

RELATED: Just 36 Percent Of Americans Believe They Are Overweight, Although 66 Percent Actually Are

The published results are based on data from 20 large studies done in the U.S., Sweden and Australia.

Earlier this year, separate research done by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation found that about 30 percent of the world’s population, or 2.1 billion people, are considered obese.

To read the full PLOS Medicine study, click here.


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