Being overweight ‘shaves years off your life’ … especially if you are a man

Being overweight or obese increase the chances of dying early, especially in men, the largest study of its kind has shown. Those who were moderately obese died three years prematurely on average, the study of 3.9 million people found. Overweight people lost about one year of their expected life span. Overall, the association with premature death before the age of 70 was three times stronger for overweight and obese men than for women.

We also found that men who were obese were at much higher risk of premature death than obese women. This is consistent with previous observations that obese men have greater insulin resistance, liver fat levels, and diabetes risk than women.

Researcher Dr Emanuele Di Angelantonio, from Cambridge University

The latest research by a global team pulled together data from 189 studies, involving almost four million people, from across the world. Weighing too much raised the risk of heart and lung disease, stroke, and cancer, said the researchers writing in The Lancet medical journal. It is second only to smoking as a cause of premature death in Europe and North America, they added. As an example, an obese but otherwise healthy man in North America carried the risk of death before the age of 70 to be about 29%, compared with 19% for a man of normal weight, the study showed.

The results show that being overweight does have a significant impact on your health and strengthen the arguments for public health measures to reduce obesity in our society

Prof Peter Weissberg, medical director at the British Heart Foundation