About The Buzz: Obesity Increases The Risk of Premature Death?

TheBUZZ Obesity increases the risk of premature death?


Obese American adults die at an earlier age than those with normal weight.


Obesity is a serious health problem in the United States, affecting more than one-third of adults. It is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, certain cancers, and other chronic medical conditions [More on Obesity]. Now, new research into mortality rates in the U.S. shows that obesity may also shorten lives by 4 or more years, depending on age.


Data from a new study conducted at the City University of New York shows that obesity can lower life expectancy. According to this study:

  • Overall, obese Americans died an average of 3.7 years earlier from all causes and 1.7 years earlier from heart disease compared to normal-weight adults.
  • The risk is highest among middle-aged obese adults aged 45-64, who died 7.1 years earlier from all causes and up to 12.8 years earlier from heart disease.*


Healthy weight is critical for good health. As this study shows, being at a healthy weight may also be important in determining not only the quality of your life but also longevity. If you are at a healthy weight, continue to eat a balanced diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables, and stay physically active. If you are overweight or obese (BMI greater than 30), take steps to lose weight.

10 tips to get you started on a weight loss program:

  • Set Realistic Goals. Set realistic weight loss goals by identifying small dietary and lifestyle changes that are easy to follow and sustain over time.
  • Eat a Balanced Diet. Focus on eating a healthy, balanced diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fat and sugar. Fruits and vegetables are naturally low in calories and provide key nutrients your body needs every day for good health.
  • Skip Foods with Empty Calories. Choose fruits and veggies instead of high-sugar, high-fat foods that offer empty calories. Search the 100-calorie-comparison chart to see how you can eat more fruits and vegetables in place of other foods for the same number of calories.
  • Plan Ahead. Plan meals in advance by creating a healthy meal plan.
  • Check Out Our Recipes. We have hundreds of healthy Fruit & Veggie Recipes.
  • Check Out Our Menus. Find recipes for 30 healthy dinners that feed a family of 4 for under $10 in our Menu a Day section.
  • All Forms Matter. Include all forms of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and 100% juice are all nutritious, and they provide convenient, inexpensive, and time-saving options for adding healthy foods to meals and snacks.
  • Focus on Half Your Plate. If you don’t have time to weigh or measure your food, here’s a simple guideline to use—Fill half your plate with fruits and veggies at every meal and snack occasion.
  • Aim to Eat MORE! Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Learn how with our Quick Guide to Getting More Fruits & Vegetables and our Easy Ways to Add Fruits and Veggies to Your Day.
  • Give Your Plate a Makeover. Try our healthy plate recipes, complete with nutrition information, cost analysis, and a shopping list.

Premature death from obesity-related conditions is preventable. The key is to maintain a healthy weight by eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. And, don’t forget to get moving! Along with eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, add physical activity to your daily routine to burn more calories and speed up weight loss.

Find more free online tools and resources in Healthy Weight Management.


*Borrell, Luisa, and Lalitha Samuel. “Body Mass Index Categories and Mortality Risk in US Adults: The Effect of Overweight and Obesity on Advancing Death.” American Journal of Public Health, published online January 16, 2014. Accessed January 19, 2014. View Article

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