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Life Expectancy When Morbidly Obese

Life Expectancy When Morbidly Obese

morbid obesity BMI chart - severely obeseMorbid obesity can present several different health challenges. From difficulty sleeping to the risk of Type II diabetes, obesity is considered a hazardous public health crisis, contributing to dozens of diseases and a very low quality of life.

Severe overweight is also known to reduce life expectancy dramatically. Studies have shown that those who struggle with obesity may be eliminating years from their life and reducing their quality of life during those final years.

A person is considered morbidly obese if they are 100 pounds overweight or have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or more.

Morbid Obesity and Life Expectancy

Many studies have been conducted to determine the effects of obesity on total lifespan. Research on morbid obesity and life expectancy published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that those who struggled with obesity may live as many as 13 years less than others of similar backgrounds.

To conduct this study, the administrators looked at data collected from many research studies, including US Life Tables and several National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys.

The study results showed that super obesity does indeed have a negative impact on life expectancy, to the degree that differs between ethnic groups.

White men ages 20 years or older with a BMI of 45 or more were expected to lose as much as 13 years of their life on average than those with a “healthy” BMI of 24. That number balloons to 20 years lost among black men.

Both white and black women experienced fewer years lost, but a significant percentage with eight years and five years lost, respectively.

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Determining the actual lifespan of obese men and women is a bit more complex, as there are countless factors at play, including genetics, smoking habits, drinking habits, and more. However, you can estimate life expectancy by comparing your race and ethnic background to this chart and subtracting the results. For example:

  • Caucasian Female Born in Delaware (78 years) – 8 Years Lost = 70 years.
  • African American Male Born in Maryland (75 years) – 20 Years Lost = 50 years.

However, it would be best if you also made a mental adjustment based on your health history, your genetics, whether you smoke, and other factors. Determining a specific life expectancy is challenging, so consider your expectations and subtract the years lost from the total.

Additional Studies on Life Expectancy With Obesity

The National Obesity Observatory combined analyzed 57 other studies to determine life expectancy with obesity. The study looked at moderate and severe obesity and found that:

  • Moderate Obesity (BMI Between 30 and 40) – 3 Years Lost
  • Morbid Obesity (BMI of 40+) – 8 to 10 Years Lost

The authors noted that years lost due to morbid obesity are similar to those lost by lifelong smoking, known as one of the biggest public health hazards of the modern era.

Life Expectancy Isn’t Everything

8 to 10 years lost, on average, is significant. However, experts are quick to note that many additional years are lost to obesity that simply does not result in death. A study published in the UK found that a total of 20 “healthy years” were lost to obesity.

So, in addition to dying from obesity at a younger age, several decades of healthy living would also be taken from those struggling with obesity, leading to a lower quality of life.

Obesity is a Public Health Issue

Obesity leads to a shorter lifespan and far fewer healthy years leading up to the end of your life. For those that struggle with obesity, looking for solutions within your country or exploring overseas care can help you in fighting for your weight loss goals.

10 thoughts on “Life Expectancy When Morbidly Obese

  1. I think you should do what your gut tells you.
    There is no harm in you going overseas, and creating a plan for yourself for maintenance or to lose weight in a more traditional manner.
    Your medical professional may have developed a malady common into the hcg community: hcg
    tunnel vision.

  2. I am mentally torn about my daughter-in-laws Morbidly obese condition. She has a new 9 mo. old granddaughter. I fear she may not live to see her Granddaughters graduation or be able to attend. She will not discuss her condition with her doctor. Do I dare risk total alienation by broaching the subject? She has a twin sister with similar condition, and a daughter headed in the same direction. I’ve witnessed her daughter filling her plate twice numerous times. I do not know her weight and don’t care, but I know morbidly obese when I see it. obviously she has a gene condition, but also an upbringing condition.

  3. I think people need to think a little bit more when they eat all the sweets and fried foods and gorge themselves I’m 66 years old and I’ve taken care of myself my whole life I’ve had cancer 8 major surgeries for if I didn’t I would not be hedear it’s so important to eat good exercise I would bet all the money I have That no one could guess my age keep up the good work

    1. For many, it is difficult to lose weight through portion control alone. Bariatric surgery helps restrict food consumption and decrease hunger.

  4. I hate the ‘move more eat less’ brigade who are 25 and have no commitments so going to a gym after work is a choice. I was very slim till I was 40. I started working 12 hour night shifts and caring for four children. It leaves you with no time, no energy and food becomes fuel. Then you get menopausal and put another load of weight on. I am cutting carbs to the bone and I have a big garden and livestock so I work outside every single day and walk a few miles several times a week. It is painstaking. I could lose more in a week giving up chocolate at 25 than I can lose strictly dieting in a couple of months now. It isn’t a level playing field. I am not morbidly obese but I think when people are there is more to it than greed or being lazy even if it’s psychological. It’s not lack of willpower for me either, three times I did soup and shake diets very successfully but feeling ill for months. The weight crept back on every time. Each time it took longer to lose less.

    1. There is a quiet but sneaky autoimmune disease called Celiac. I totally believe, along with what I’ve read, that people are going undiagnosed. Celiac disease not only is known for wasting away through malabsorbtion of nutrients, but it can cause weight gain as well. My suggestion is to cut out ALL gluten from your diet. That alone will cause weight loss. Increase your soluble and insoluble fiber. Very important because going gluten-free also reduces fiber so you must increase your fiber intake through other means than with traditional wheat. Limit your grains. Avoid oatmeal as well. There is an app you can download called FIG. It stands for Food is Good and it takes the guess work out of what ingredients to avoid. Whether it be to avoid milk, seafood, peanut, gluten, this app can be a great help. God bless.

  5. I’m very worried about husband. 5’9″ 280lbs at age 65. So far no serious health problems, but I worry about heart attack. He doesn’t eat all day. He has a very small breakfast, but then it’s junk food at night. He does have lymphedema since he was in his 30s so that’s some of the weight which he can’t help, but he’s been 190lbs with that. I’m trying to get him to go to under 200lb. The major concern isn’t so much diet as it is he’s now retired & inactive. I really don’t know what to do to motivate him, but I’m really scared.

  6. I have a feeling if you asked a morbidly obese person is it worth it to eat anything you want but to lose 8-10 years of your life? I’m guessing they’d say yes. Chocolate cake anyone?!

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