Risk of death from obesity identified

Obesity is becoming one of the largest public health concerns in today's society. While the condition has generally been linked to an increased risk of a number of health problems, including heart disease, certain cancers and type 2 diabetes, studies have been unable to determine the specific level of obesity at which risk is the greatest, until now.

A team of researchers from the National Cancer Institute examined data from a number of previous studies that measured body mass index and risk of death from all causes. They found that individuals with an overweight BMI (25.0 to 29.9) were 13 percent more likely to die during the study period. Participants with BMIs in the obese range (30.0 and above) were 44 percent more likely to die during the study period.

Obesity and its resulting chronic diseases can take a major toll on the body. Diabetes in particular can lead to cardiovascular disease, kidney damage and musculoskeletal problems. All of these conditions can seriously elevate the risk of death.

"By combining data on nearly 1.5 million participants from 19 studies we were able to evaluate a wide range of BMI levels and other characteristics that may influence the relationship between excess weight and risk of death," said Amy Berrington de Gonzalez, who led the investigation.

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