A new study published in the medical journal British Medical Journal discovered that individuals who are overweight are at a greater risk of premature death, which is equal to the rate of risk of individuals who smoke half a pack of cigarettes, or more, every day.
Overweight is defined as body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 35. Body mass index of more than 35 has been defined as obesity.
It is however important to recognize that body composition also plays a major part in defining obesity as sometimes, as often seen in contact sports, an athlete with a great amount of muscle mass can show as obese according to BMI. In these cases it is of course essential to use common sense. Generally said, males with 30% or more body fat, and females with 35 percent or more body fat can be categorized as obese and should seek to lose weight fast.
The researchers also found that the rate of early deaths among those who smoked more than 10 cigarettes a day, but maintained a healthy body weight is exactly the same rate of early deaths among obese non-smokers.
As expected, it was found that the highest risk is among those who smoked more than 10 cigarettes a day and those who were significantly obese. The chances of this population to die earlier than the average life expectancy are 5 times compared to individuals who are at a normal weight and are non-smokers.
The study included about 45,000 men who were recruited into the army of Sweden aged 16-19, when during recruitment procedures their body mass index and whether they smoke or not were always recorded. Participants were followed for a period of about 20 years, during which about 2897 of the participants.
The study shows that moderate obesity in adolescence increases the risk of an early death by 30%, while radical obesity in adolescence significantly increases the risk of an early death twice as much. Similarly, the risk of young people who smoke more than 10 cigarettes a day for early death is under twice less from those who did not smoke.
Lead researcher, Dr. Martin Naobios the Karolinska Institute in Sweden concluded: “We have found that moderate and extreme obesity alike in teenagers was directly related to early deaths, regardless of smoking.” Adding that “the mortality rate among young men who do not smoke and have normal body weight is lower than in smokers and people who are moderately overweight or extremely overweight (obese).