According to a study published on-line by the Lancet, the moderately obese will die three years before they should.
The medical journal went on to state that this increases to a decade for anyone with very serious weight problems.
The facts are supported by extensive research and are unequivocal.
The BMI, body mass index, was used as the measure to assess almost a million subjects in Europe and Canada.
This can be calculated quite simply by using weight and height. A BMI of between 25 and 29 is treated as overweight. Obese people are on the scale at over thirty.
Looked at a different way being obese is like being a smoker, that’s how much it can shorten your life. For Sir Richard Peto who conducted the trials, which were carried out over a period of twenty years, believes the biggest problem is fat kids becoming fat adults.
The ideal BMI is around 24, which means that if you are 170cm tall, your weight should be roughly 70kg.
Heart disease and stroke are the main cause of death for obese adults although instances of cancer are on the increase.
Over the course of the study, funded by amongst others, the Medical Research Council, 10% of the people died. Sir Richard believes that the solution lies in preventing individuals from becoming overweight in the first place. Often losing weight and keeping it off proves to be impossible for most.
Sir Richard concluded with a word of warning, stating that for a smoker, giving up cigarettes is the most important thing to do; weight loss must not be given a higher priority.