Extreme obesity may shorten life span by nearly 14 years: study

Bethesda, MD – Extreme obesity is an increasing public health problem that may shorten a person’s life expectancy by almost 14 years, according to a study from the National Cancer Institute.

The findings emphasize the need for more effective intervention programs to fight the problem of extreme obesity, also known as class III obesity, researchers said. Extreme obesity affects 6 percent of adults in the United States and is defined as having a body mass index of 40 to 59.9.

As part of the study, researchers analyzed data from 9,564 adults who were classified as class III obese and more than 304,000 adults who were classified as normal weight. Adults whose BMI ranged from 40 to 44.9 had life expectancies shortened by an average of 6.5 years, researchers said, while adults whose BMI ranged from 55 to 59.9 lost an average of 13.7 years.

Heart disease was the No. 1 factor for the increased number of deaths in the class III group, researchers said, followed by deaths from cancer and diabetes.