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Study: Obesity Deadlier in Men Than in Women

Jul 15, 2016 03:22 AM EDT

Obesity is three times deadlier for men than for women, a new study shows.

The study also shows that even being slightly overweight raises the risk of early death.

The study, which is one of the most extensive researches conducted on the subject of weight and death, analyzed data on about 4 million men and women around the globe.

According to the researchers, men of normal weight were 19 percent more likely to die before reaching the age of 70 and women of normal weight were at 11 percent.

However, the risk significantly increased for men and women who were obese, with a 30 percent likelihood of early death for men and 15 percent for women.

"We found that men who were obese were at much higher risk of premature death than obese women," Dr. Emanuele Di Angelantonio, a lecturer at the University of Cambridge in England, said in a statement published in The Telegraph.

"This is consistent with previous observations that obese men have greater insulin resistance, liver fat levels, and diabetes risk than women."

According to lead researcher Richard Peto, a professor of medical statistics and epidemiology at the University of Oxford in England, obesity is the second leading cause of premature deaths in America. Smoking ranks first.

"If you could lose about 10 percent of your weight, a woman would knock 10 percent off the risk of dying before she was 70, and for a man it would knock about 20 percent off," Peto said.

For the study, the researchers analyzed data on 3.9 million adults aged 20 to 90 years old gathered from 189 previous studies in Europe, North America and other parts of the world. The researchers also included data on people who lived at least five more years.

Dr. David Katz, president of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, said in a report by WebMD that while there are clear and decisive evidence linking obesity to premature deaths, the obesity-mortality link has always been periodically challenged.

"The obesity pandemic continues to advance, putting ever more of humanity at risk," Katz said.

"What we already had abundant cause to think, this paper gives us ample cause to know, that risk includes early death. This constitutes an urgent call for corrective actions at a global scale."

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