Europe

Obesity increases serious disease risk

Obesity has been linked to a significantly higher chance of serious disease and early death than being a healthy weight, according to fresh research.

Being obese is linked to a significantly higher chance of serious disease and early death than being a healthy weight, research on more than 2.8 million adults suggests.

The chance of suffering serious illness goes up with increasing weight gain, experts analysing health, death and sickness data from UK adults found.

Presented at the European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Glasgow, the study found that people with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 to 35 were at 70 per cent higher risk of developing heart failure than their healthy weight peers.

Even a BMI of 25 to 30 increased the risk by 20 per cent, while a BMI of 35 to 40 more than doubled the risk and a BMI of 40 to 45 almost quadrupled the risk compared to people of a normal weight.

The study also found that compared with normal weight individuals, a BMI of 25 to 30 increased the risk of Type 2 diabetes and sleep apnoea by more than double, while a person with a BMI of 30 to 35 was more than five times as likely to develop Type 2 diabetes and almost six times as likely to develop sleep apnoea.

The results also showed that increasing weight was linked to higher risk of high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and abnormal cholesterol levels.

This BMI was also linked to a 50 per cent higher risk of dying prematurely from any cause compared to people of a normal weight.

Researchers looked at health, death and BMI data from more than 2.8 million adults between January 2000 and July 2018 from the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink. This was linked with hospital data to estimate the risk for serious health problems.

Author Christiane Haase, from Novo Nordisk in Denmark, which funded the study, said: "The health risks linked with having excess body weight are particularly high for Type 2 diabetes and sleep apnoea.

"With the number of people living with obesity almost tripling worldwide over the past 30 years (105 million people in 1975 to 650 million in 2016), our findings have serious implications for public health."

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