A new study published in the journal PLOS One looked at 20 previous studies in Sweden, Australia and the United States.
Researchers found people with a body mass index above 40 — deemed severely obese — were more likely to die early from heart disease, cancer and diabetes compared to people with normal weight, with as many as 14 years cut off the average lifespan.
The study also concluded these deaths from obesity were similar to the increased death rate among normal-weight smokers.
The lead researcher, who works at the U.S. National Cancer Institute, told HealthDay, “Death rates in severely obese adults were about 2.5 times higher than in adults in the normal weight range.”
The researchers said they tackled extreme obesity specifically because it’s becoming a “major public health problem” — particularly in some high-income countries, though it used to be pretty uncommon.
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