With each extra kilo, years of life less: it’s mathematical

Being overweight or obese increases the risk of premature death compared to normal weight. But what this study published in the LANCET reveals above all is that each additional kilo aggravates the risk.

The interest of this study and above all its scope is based on its sample: nearly 10.6 million individuals from 239 large-scale studies, conducted between 1970 and 2015. Its conclusions are clear, with each extra kilo the increased risk of premature death.

The Global BMI Mortality Collaboration: Data Collected Around the World

Such data collection was only made possible by the creation of a research consortium, created in 2013. It relies on more than 500 researchers around the world, spread over 300 institutions and 32 countries. The combination of these efforts made it possible to collect a considerable mass of data on nearly 1.6 million deaths during the 14 years of follow-up of the study, an unequaled performance in the field.

The kilos multiply the risks

The results indicate that subjects with a BMI between 22.5 and 25 kg/m2 present the lowest risk of mortality over time. Beyond that, the risk rises proportionally:

  • A BMI of 25 to 27.5 kg/m2 is associated with a 7% higher risk of mortality (compared to a healthy BMI).
  • A BMI of 27.5 to 30 kg/m2 is associated with a 20% higher risk of mortality.
  • A BMI of 30 to 35 kg/m2 is associated with a 45% higher risk of mortality.
  • A BMI of 35 to 40 kg/m2 is associated with a 94% higher risk of mortality.
  • Beyond that, between 40 and 60 kg/m2, the risk is practically multiplied by 3!
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Mortality from cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and cancer

Above 25 kg/m2, every 5 additional BMI units are associated with a 31% risk of premature death. It should be noted that underweight people also have a higher risk of mortality.

Among the most incriminated diseases: cardiovascular diseases. Again, above 25 kg/m2, every 5 additional BMI units are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular mortality by 49%, ahead of mortality from respiratory disease (39%) and mortality from cancer ( 19%).

The researchers also observed that the risks were higher in younger people and in men.


The Global BMI Mortality Collaboration, The Lancet.



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