You're probably wondering how to interpret the results. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), other U.S. federal government agencies, and the World Health Organization recommend a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 as optimal for maximum longevity, based on data from life insurance company actuarial statistics as well as long-term scientific studies. The NIH consensus statement on obesity makes it clear just how self-destructive it is to go above the upper BMI boundary; overweight people are at much greater risk for hypertension (high blood pressure), hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol), diabetes, Coronary Artery Heart Disease (CAHD), numerous types of cancer, and other ailments. Indeed, a study by the American Cancer Society of over 1 million men and women had these results (in the words of the NIH consensus panel): "Obese males, regardless of smoking habits, had a higher mortality from cancer of the colon, rectum, and prostate. Obese females had a higher mortality from cancer of the gallbladder, biliary passages, breast (postmenopausal), uterus (including both cervix and endometrium), and ovaries." It should be no surprise, then, that long-term scientific studies have found alarmingly high mortality rates for obese people. For example, it has been determined that men 15-39 years old whose weight is 45% to 55% above average have a mortality rate twice as great as those whose weight is average.
Want more details? Read the NIH's report, "Statistics Related to
Overweight and Obesity" and the NIH consensus statement, "Health
Implications of Obesity". These are written in straightforward
layman's terms, and they're your tax dollars at work, so study
them and get your money's worth. Alas, they probably won't cheer
you up. The United States, along with the other
industrialized nations, is suffering a deadly obesity epidemic.
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