Here’s more reason to encourage individuals who are obese to move more and improve their diets: Obesity can chop up to 9 years off a lifespan.

Published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology (doi: S2213-8587(14)70229-3), this discouraging statistic comes from 3,992 non-Hispanic white people taking part in the National Nutrition and Examination Survey (2008–2010). The researchers used their data to develop a “disease-simulation model” for estimating disease and mortality rates among individuals who are overweight or obese. Investigators were then able to project the number of years of life lost as a result of carrying extra weight. They determined that obese men aged 60–79 could expect to lose 0–8 years of life. Men aged 20–39 fared worse, losing an estimated 5–9 years of life. Women shared similar results.

“Healthy life-years lost were two to four times higher than total years of life lost for all age groups and bodyweight categories,” the authors added.

They concluded that helping overweight and obese individuals understand the potential loss of life could be useful in helping to improve the conversation between them and their health practitioners.

Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson is an award-winning writer and editor. He is a long-time author and presenter for IDEA Health & Fitness Association, fitness industry consultant and former director of group training for Bird Rock Fit. He is also a Master Trainer for TriggerPoint.

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