Obesity can take years off a life, and in some cases is as dangerous to health as smoking, reports USA Today. Researchers analyzing studies involving almost a million people found that obese adults died an average of three years earlier than people with a healthy body-mass index. Extremely obese adults—100 or more pounds overweight—died up to a decade sooner.
The findings demonstrate that extreme obesity shortened lifespans as much as lifelong smoking, and that even being mildly overweight shortened lives, researchers noted. "Obesity causes heart disease and stroke by pushing up blood pressure, mucking up blood cholesterol and triggering diabetes," said one of the scientists, whose work is published in The Lancet.