Morbid obesity shortens a person’s life expectancy by 10 years

Patients with morbid obesity have 10 years less of life expectancy, and it is also considered a serious disease linked to high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, cholesterol, sleep apnoea, joint problems, depression and cancer, as pointed out by Carlos Zarco, director of the Espriu Foundation and medical director at the HLA Moncloa University Hospital, as part of World Obesity Day.

Obesity is defined as an accumulation of fat that can be harmful to health. According to Zarco, it is a “genuine pandemic”, owing to the fact that in recent years, the incidence of this disease has tripled.

According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) latest data, in the year 2016, 1.9 billion adults were overweight and over 650 million were obese. Every year at least 2.8 million people die from obesity or being overweight.  As for the world child population, in 2016, 41 million children under five were overweight.

More calories than expended

Our Body Mass Index (BMI), calculated by dividing our weight in kilograms by our height in square metres (kg/m2), is used to classify excess weight and obesity. The WHO definition of being overweight as having a BMI equal to or over 25, obesity as having a BMI equal to or over 30, and morbid obesity as having an index equal to or over 40.

Doctor Zarco has stated that the main cause of obesity is the energy imbalance between calory intake and the calories that are expended. He has also said that this is coupled with an increased intake of fats and decreased levels of physical activity due to certain lifestyles and types of work, for example.

In that respect, the director of the Espriu Foundation has assured that excess weight and obesity can be prevented by limiting total fat and sugar intake. By the same token, he has recommended an increase in intake of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and nuts. In line with WHO recommendations, Zarco also advocates regular exercise: 60 minutes a day for young persons and 150 minutes a week for adults.