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Wellness Report on Obesity: Losing Weight May Add Years to Your Life

Jamie McManus, M.D., F.A.A.F.P.
Senior Vice President, Medical Affairs & Education

The first step to achieving good health is getting your weight under control.

New studies confirm that obesity is on the rise, bringing with it a greater risk of diabetes and a lower life expectancy. 

Overweight linked with premature death
In January 2003, the Journal of the American Medical Association featured a study that found that obesity appears to lessen life expectancy, especially among young adults. The researchers compared Body-Mass Index (BMI) to longevity and found a correlation between premature death and higher BMIs. For example, a 20-year-old white male, 510 weighing 288 pounds with a BMI of greater than 40 was estimated to lose 13 years of his life as a result of obesity. While this study referenced extreme levels of obesity, there are still millions of overweight Americans with a life expectancy rate that is three to five years less than their healthy-weight counterparts.



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