If weight loss is something you’ve been putting off, a new study may give you a reason to reconsider. Carrying any extra weight at any point in your life can detrimentally shorten your lifespan, according to a new study by the Boston University of Public Health.
People who were obese for any part of their lives were 65 percent more likely to die in the time allotted by the study, and those who had been severely obese were 150 percent more likely to die. Even if the study participants had since lost the weight, their chances of dying remained the same.
The study organized subjects by their Body Mass Index (BMI), a measurement that relates height to weight in a universal way. It’s the same method Dr. Dirk uses to determine patient health. A person’s BMI is determined by their weight in kilograms divided by their height in meters.
If that sounds like a lot of math, there are several calculators online, like this one. Once you have your BMI, you can determine where you fall on the normal-to-obese spectrum.
Unfortunately, according to the study, everyone who was not a normal weight — a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 — for most of their lives was found to be at risk.
“If your BMI is 30 or greater, you are in the obese category. There is no arguing with that number,” Dr. Dirk says. “If you find your BMI is 30 or greater, it is time to do something.”
So how can you better your odds? Dr. Dirk, a Bariatric Surgeon in Dallas, Texas, says the answer is obvious. The sooner you can get out of the obese range, the better. Eat a healthy diet and exercise often to get within the normal weight range.
“If that does not work, it is time to seriously consider obesity surgery options,” Dr. Dirk says. “Obesity shortens your life. The science about obesity surgery is very clear: people who have obesity surgery live longer, healthier lives than people who do not.”