Does obesity reduce life expectancy?

Updated: May 06, 2021
  • Author: Osama Hamdy, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Answer

For persons with severe obesity (BMI ≥40), life expectancy is reduced by as much as 20 years in men and by about 5 years in women. The greater reduction in life expectancy for men is consistent with the higher prevalence of android (ie, predominantly abdominal) obesity and the biologically higher percent body fat in women. The risk of premature mortality is even greater in obese persons who smoke.

Some evidence suggests that, if unchecked, trends in obesity in the United States may be associated with overall reduced longevity of the population in the near future. Data also show that obesity is associated with an increased risk and duration of lifetime disability. Furthermore, obesity in middle age is associated with poor indices of quality of life in old age.


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