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Heart disease and diabetes caused by obesity can take up to eight years off of a person's life according to new research.

Heart disease and diabetes caused by obesity can take up to eight years off of a person's life according to new research.

It's no secret that obesity presents significantly increased health risks like cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stroke and diabetes. But new research points to just how dangerous these health risks are, potentially taking up to a decade off of somebody's life.

A team of Canadian researchers at Montreal's McGill University, led by Dr. Steven Grover, analyzed data gathered by the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from between 2003 and 2010 as part of an effort to develop a computer model that could project heart disease and diabetes risk in adults of varying body weights. What the team found was that depending on whether a person was overweight, obese or very obese, they could lose years of life expectancy:

  • Life expectancy for overweight people would drop between zero and three years.
  • Life expectancy for obese individuals would fall by one to six years.
  • Life expectancy for the very obese was reduced by as much as eight years.

The study also revealed that those who suffered from obesity-related diabetes or heart disease also lived fewer years without those health conditions, sometimes losing even 20 healthy years from their lifespan.

"Not only is excess body weight associated with a significant reduction in life expectancy, but with an even greater reduction in healthy life years," said Grover in an official statement, published along with the study's findings in the December 5 edition of The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. "While losing weight or exercising regularly is not easy for many of us, the potential benefits are huge […] Appreciating the impact excess pounds has on our life expectancy and healthy years of life will hopefully provide health professionals with a new diagnostic measurement to motivate some individuals to make healthy changes to their lifestyle."

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