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In a recent study conducted at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) and McGill University, researchers looked at the link between obesity and life expectancy. They took statistics from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (from years 2003 to 2010) and found that very obese individuals could lose up to eight years of life, obese individuals could lose up to six years of life, and overweight individuals could lose up to three years of life. They also found that healthy life-years lost were two to four times higher for overweight and obese individuals compared to those who had a healthy weight. The researchers used a sample size of 4,000 people to pull results from.
This study is an observational study, but it was conducted with results that already occurred before the researchers began to collect the information. Therefore there was no bias on the side of the people being studied. However, the study was conducted with results from Americans, so the implications in other countries are questionable. There are also many other third confiding variables that aren’t taken into account. What if a majority of the people studied died in accidents and things completely unrelated to their weight or BMI? There is also always the possibility of chance. Correlation does not always equal causation so the relationship between BMI and years off of one’s life could be completely due to chance.
I believe there may be some truth to this study, but the only way we’ll be able to draw conclusive evidence is to keep replicating these studies to try and eliminate chance as much as possible. This could have a lot to say about the future implications of this information.
“Obesity May Shorten Life Expectancy up to Eight Years.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2014. <http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141205094845.htm>.