After examining the health data from nearly 4 million adults worldwide, study authors were able to determine that the risk of premature death for obese men is nearly three times higher than it is for women—and that risk increases with the severity of obesity.
In terms of numbers, researchers point out that the average male adult with a normal BMI has a 19 percent risk of death before the age of 70, while the average woman has an 11 percent risk of premature death. Factor in overweight and obesity, and that risk jumps to 29.5 percent for men and 14.6 percent for women.
“Obesity is second only to smoking as a cause of premature death in America,” said lead author Richard Peto with University of Oxford in England. “If you could lose about 10 percent of your weight, a woman would knock 10 percent off the risk of dying before she was 70, and for a man it would knock about 20 percent off.”
Peto and co-author Dr. Emanuele Di Angelantonio hope their findings encourage people to consider that along with the significant health risks associated with overweight and obesity, the risk of premature death is also a reason to take steps toward achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.