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The Healthy Obese Is A Myth - Being Overweight Will Kill You



Nearly six years ago, I published The Healthy Obese? Don't Bet Your Life On It which was a criticism of the extremely dangerous conception that people can be healthy and obese simultaneously. Six years later, new research shows that obesity can be quite deadly. Hopefully this will serve as a wake up call to anyone who still wants to believe that its physiologically healthy to carry around excess body fat.

Researchers conducted a meta-analysis of approximately 10.6 million people residing on four continents, and published their findings in the Lancet. They learned that overweight and obese people suffered from all cause mortality. All cause essentially means that these people died from diabetes, heart disease, cancer, stroke, obesity related respiratory disease, etc.

None of this should be taken lightly.

The research paper, prepared by The Global BMI Mortality Collaboration, sought to understand more about mortality in obese and overweight populations. Therefore they analyzed hundreds of studies involving approximately 11 million people across North America, east Asia, Australia, Europe and New Zealand.

Their findings are astounding. During nearly 14 years of follow up, more than one million people died. In an analysis of 237 studies involving 10 622 450 participants, the researchers noted that 1 601 774 people died from all cause mortality.

The results of 189 studies involving 3, 951, 455 participants, showed that approximately 400,000 of them passed away. At the time of their recruitment, those people had never smoked and did not suffer from chronic diseases, even though they survived the first five years of the study, 385, 879 of them eventually died.

In a word, that's pretty sad.


Obesity Is Going To Kill You Sooner Or Later

There is no doubt that obesity related illnesses killed those people.

The authors said their findings challenge conclusions that overweight (BMI 25.0 - < 30 kg/m2 ) and slightly obese people (BMI 30 - <35.0 kg/m2 ) were healthy.

In fact, analyses by The Global BMI Mortality Collaboration showed that morality was lowest among people with a body mass index (BMI) ranging from 20.0 - 25.0 kg/m2 but that the number of deaths increased "significantly" for those with BMI 18.5 - <20.0 kg/m2 and throughout the range of overweight participants (BMI 25.0 - 30.0 kg/m2 ). Participants with BMI exceeding 30 kg/m2 were also highly susceptible to obesity related mortality.

The research team noted that mortality risk was greatest among younger participants compared to older people in each of the major regions they studied. But I wouldn't interpret that to mean that older people are less likely to perish from obesity. Quite the opposite - the reason why mortality decreased with age is because many of the participants died before they reached old age!

What can be said of this? Why is excess body fat so unhealthy?

In a nutshell, excess body fat has the potential to throw the entire system out of whack.

But that answer won't be enough to satisfy some folks. So I'm going to present you with supporting examples. Get ready for a shock.

Visceral body fat - the fat which accumulates in and around the heart, lungs, spleen, liver and other organs - can impede their function.

Fat cells release chemical messengers known as cytokines. These chemicals can trigger inflammation. Inflammation is painful. But even worse, inflammatory cytokines have the power to turn on uncontrolled cellular growth i.e. cancer.

Excessive body fat weakens bones. It also makes life very uncomfortable for arthritis sufferers.

Excess fat makes it incredibly difficult to breath. Sleep apnea, a physical condition wherein people intermittently stop breathing during sleep, is often correlated with obesity.

Obesity is also known to aggravate asthmatic symptoms.

Obesity and diabetes often go hand in hand. People who suffer from insulin resistance tend to be overweight or obese. The Global BMI Mortality Collaboration noted as much in their meta-analysis. But there is scientific data supporting a relationship between diabetes, air pollution and heart disease risk. Indeed research coming from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston found a connection between air pollution and increased risk of heart disease among diabetic women.

There are ample studies that show a relationship between obesity and heart disease. Allthough too numerous to discuss in this article, and important study from conducted by US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity found that overweight and obese American teens were at risk for at least one cardiovascular disease factor; even worse, the heaviest teens were at greatest risk for cardiovascular disease.

Obesity also increases stroke risk.  Diabetes increases risk of stroke as does high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Obese and overweight people tend suffer from high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

You're beginning to get the picture. One way or another, excess body fat is connected to each of the aforementioned maladies.

Therefore, it's absolutely dangerous underestimate the risks that being overweight or obese can do to the human body.


What Can Be Done?

The safest and most effective means of shedding the excess pounds is to change lifestyle habits. Fat accumulation is often the end result of an energy imbalance. Quite simply, most folks whom are overweight or obese eat more calories than they expend. Choosing to eat healthy foods and participate in physical exercise will help most people.

But for other people, the problem may require greater intervention. Hormonal imbalances and even medicinal side effects can cause people to gain weight. In such instances, health care professionals will have to take other steps to help their patients lose weight.

Some people may even find weight loss surgery effective.

Regardless of the method, exercise, nutrition, surgery, etc. it is vital to seek medical advice before making any changes.

Based on the result of their findings, The Global BMI Mortality Collaboration said:"The associations of both overweight and obesity with higher all-cause mortality were broadly consistent in four continents. This finding supports strategies to combat the entire spectrum of excess adiposity in many populations."

I agree. Obesity is a global epidemic; if steps aren't taken to reverse the problem, we can expect millions more to be killed by it.


But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear ; do not be frightened." 1 Peter 3:14

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Article References

The Global BMI Mortality Collaboration (2016). Body-mass index and all-cause mortality: individual-participant-data meta-analysis of 239 prospective studies in four continents The Lancet DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(16)30175-1

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"The Healthy Obese Is A Myth - Being Overweight Will Kill You" copyright © 2016 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy(SM). All Rights Reserved.





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