A Few Extra Pounds? Your Excess Weight Could Still Kill You

With all the emphasis on the health risks of obesity, you may think a few extra pounds are harmless, but new research shows otherwise. A study found that many overweight, but not quite obese, people are dealing with health problems related to their extra body weight, including some that are potentially fatal. 

More than 2 billion children and adults suffer from health problems related to their weight, the study found. What’s more, of the 4 million deaths associated with excess body weight in 2015, about 40 percent occurred in individuals who were overweight, but not heavy enough to be considered obese. These deaths were attributed to illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Illnesses associated with higher body mass indexes (BMIs) include cancers of the esophagus, colon and rectum, liver, gallbladder and biliary tract, pancreas, breast, uterus, ovary, kidney, thyroid, and leukemia.

“People who shrug off weight gain do so at their own risk — risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and other life-threatening conditions,” said study author Dr. Christopher Murray in a recent statement. “Those half-serious New Year’s resolutions to lose weight should become year-round commitments to lose weight and prevent future weight gain.”

The study is based on information from 196 countries and spanned from 1980 to 2015. In addition, the study revealed that the number of overweight adults and children has been steadily growing since 1980. As defined by the study, obesity is characterized by having a BMI of 30 or higher, and overweight is characterized by having a BMI between 25 and 30.

While Americans may get the most criticism for their expanding waistlines, weight gain is a global issue, although it has affected countries differently. For example, according to the press release, the highest level of obesity among children and young adults can be found in the U.S., with 13 percent of this demographic considered obese. The country with the highest…

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