Excess weight, obesity more deadly than previously believed – Study

Excess weight or obesity boosts risk of death by anywhere from 22% to 91%—significantly more than previously believed—while the mortality risk of being slightly underweight has likely been overestimated, according to new CU Boulder research.

The findings, published Feb. 9 in the journal Population Studies, counter prevailing wisdom that excess weight boosts mortality risk only in extreme cases. 

The statistical analysis of nearly 18,000 people also shines a light on the pitfalls of using body mass index (BMI) to study health outcomes, providing evidence that the go-to metric can potentially bias findings. After accounting for those biases, it estimates that about 1 in 6 U.S. deaths is related to excess weight or obesity.

“Existing studies have likely underestimated the mortality consequences of living in a country where cheap, unhealthy food has grown increasingly accessible, and sedentary lifestyles have become the norm,” said author Ryan Masters, associate professor of sociology at CU Boulder.

“This study and others are beginning to expose the true toll of this public health crisis.” 

Challenging the obesity paradox

While numerous studies show that heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes (which are often associated with being overweight) elevate mortality risk, very few have shown that groups with higher BMIs have higher mortality rates.


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7 responses to “Excess weight, obesity more deadly than previously believed – Study

  1. I agree. I’m all for body acceptance, or being okay in your skin if you gained a few pounds for whatever reason, like menopause, or illness. But obesity is going to hell in a handbasket. These young fat activists, like Tess Holiday, are not good role models. Yes, they prove you can be obese and gorgeous, with the lovely fantasy color hair, tattoos, and dresses that are cute and girly. But the bottom line is — 10 years down the road when health fails, it’s not so cute. When you can’t fit on a bus or train, and you need people to help you dress, etc. The line has to be drawn somewhere. Young people need to wake up.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My daughter is a type-1 diabetic and is insulin dependent. She became diabetic at age 9. I am grateful for insulin and for stategies to control diabetes. I would have thought that more permanent solutions or a cure for her condition would have been discovered by now. Seeing the world’s response to find a cure for COVID is encouraging. Is there any encouraging news on curing diabetes (other that getting a new pancreas)? Thanks for your posts, Tony!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Historically, when our ancestors were hunter gatherers, or farming with poor techniques for storing food for lean times, body weight would vary or cycle through the seasons. Over weight or under weight categories that we define in BMI or other metrics were temporary and indicators for what season they were in. Our bodies I think are designed to adapt but don’t do well with long term stresses.
    That’s not commenting on the nutritional value of what was being eaten.

    Liked by 1 person

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