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If you’re carrying extra pounds, you face a higher-than-average risk of a whopping 50 different health problems.

What are the health consequences of being overweight?

The latest WHO projections indicate that at least one in three of the world’s adult population is overweight and almost one in 10 is obese. Additionally, there are over 40 million children under age five who are overweight.

Being overweight or obese can have a serious impact on health. Carrying extra fat leads to serious health consequences such as cardiovascular disease (mainly heart disease and stroke), type 2 diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders like osteoarthritis, and some cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon). These conditions cause premature death and substantial disability.

What is not widely known is that the risk of health problems starts when someone is only very slightly overweight and that the likelihood of problems increases as someone becomes more and more overweight.

Among people who are overweight or obese, there is a direct relationship between BMI and risk: the higher the BMI, the higher the likelihood of disease. Overweight and Obese individuals have the potential to decrease life expectancy for up to 8 years.

What are the health risks of being overweight or obese

Being obese (having a BMI >30) can also affect your overall life expectancy: you are more likely to die at a younger age. An analysis in 2009 of almost one million people from around the world showed that if you have a BMI between 30 and 35, you are likely to die 2-4 years earlier than average. If your BMI is between40 to 45 you are likely to die 8-10 years earlier than average.

Another analysis showed that if you are a woman who is obese at the age of 40, you are likely to die 7.1 years earlier than average. If you are a man who is obese at the age of 40, you are likely to die 5.8 years earlier than average. If you smoke as well, your life expectancy is reduced even further.

Excess body weight contributes to reducing life expectancy and premature development of heart disease and diabetes.

  • Being overweight boosted the risk of heart disease by 32%
  • Obesity increased the risk by 81%

Although the adverse effects of overweight on blood pressure and cholesterol levels could account for 45% of the increased heart disease risk, even modest amounts of excess weight can increase the odds of heart disease independent of those well-known risks.

Compared with people of normal weight, overweight people face a 22% higher risk of stroke. For those who are obese, the increased risk rises to 64%.

About 90% of people with type 2 diabetes (the most common form of the disease) are overweight or obese. The incidence of diabetes rose dramatically—by nearly 65%—from 1996 to 2006.

A high blood sugar level, the hallmark of diabetes, is one of the features of metabolic syndrome. If untreated, diabetes can lead to a number of grave health problems, including kidney failure, blindness, and foot or leg amputations.

Obesity ranks as the second leading cause of cancer death, after cigarette smoking.

  • Among people, ages 50 and older, overweight and obesity may account for 14% of all cancer deaths in men and 20% of all cancer deaths in women.

In both men and women, higher BMIs were associated with a higher risk of dying from cancer of the esophagus, colon and rectum, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, or kidney

Their findings estimated that individuals who were very obese could lose up to 8 years of life, obese individuals could lose up to 6 years, and those who were overweight could lose up to three years.

In addition, healthy life-years lost were two to four times higher for overweight and obese individuals compared to those who had a healthy weight, defined as 18.5-25 body mass index (BMI). The age at which the excess weight accumulated is an important factor and the worst outcomes were in those who gained their weight at earlier ages so one should focus to lose weight with vegan diet first.

“The pattern is clear — the more an individual weighs and the younger their age, the greater the effect on their health.

In terms of life-expectancy, we feel being overweight is as bad as cigarette smoking and that severe obesity, which is still uncommon, can shorten a person’s life by 10 years. This 10-year loss is equal to the effects of lifelong smoking

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