Being too fat or too thin can shorten life expectancy by four years

Being too fat or too thin can shorten life expectancy by four years / Health News

Overweight and underweight affect life expectancy

Our weight can have a big impact on our health. Researchers now found that both overweight and underweight can shorten life expectancy by four years.

The scientists at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine found in their recent research that overweight and underweight have a significant impact on our life expectancy. The physicians published the results of their study in the English-language journal "The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology".

Weight has a big impact on health and life expectancy. (Image: Win Nondakowit /

Study included data from several million people

The very large study involved a total of several million people. The experts found that people over the age of 40 at the upper end of the body mass index (BMI) had the lowest risk of dying from any disease. However, people at the top and bottom of the BMI risk a shorter life, say the scientists. The so-called body mass index evaluates the body weight of a person in relation to his height. A healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 25. Many physicians believe that BMI is the best way to find out if people are obese because it is accurate and easy to measure.

BMI affected many different causes of death

The life expectancy for men and women with obesity was 4.2 and 3.5 years shorter, compared to people in healthy BMI weight range, report the doctors. BMI was associated with all categories of causes of death, including cancer, cardiovascular disease and respiratory disease. For most causes of death it could be stated that there is an optimal BMI value, whereby the risk of premature death increases both below and above this level, the study author Dr. Krishnan Bhaskaran from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. At a BMI below 21, more deaths were observed for most causes, compared to optimal BMI scores. However, this may in part reflect the fact that low body weight may be an indicator of an underlying disease.

Study also found the smallest impact

For most causes of death, the greater the difference in weight, the greater the link with mortality risk, the researchers say. Because it was a very large study, even the smallest effects could be detected, which could have been triggered by a very small difference in weight.

Losing weight can protect against various diseases

Overweight people can lower their BMI to prevent disease and benefit from health benefits. BMI can be a good way to analyze a person's health. For example, diets or other weight-loss measures can improve diabetes or reduce the risk of developing diabetes, which, of course, also affects mortality rates. (As)