I read a statistic recently that if you are 52 years old and healthy that you may very well be dancing into your 90s. That got me to wondering how many years I've added to my life as a result of my weight loss and lifestyle changes following gastric bypass surgery in 2003. The answers to that musing are revealed in this article -- and they are nothing short of amazing.
Decisions have consequences. While most people understand this simple principle, it is questionable as to how many weigh the consequences of an action before they act upon it.
We carry with us the wisdom of childhood; therefore, very few of us have an eye put out with a stick. Should Janey jump off a bridge, I am pretty sure that very few of us would actually follow her.
On the other hand, we swerve mindlessly into fast food restaurants at the first pangs of hunger... consume oversized bags of potato chips while
watching television in a somnambulant state... and thoughtlessly smoke a succession of cigarettes without nary a second thought.
Consequences of Obesity in Adulthood
In a follow-up from 1948 to 1990, the Framington Heart Study concluded that obesity in adulthood dramatically compromises longevity and is a formidable predictor of death in old age. Here are the specific number of years lost based on gender, severity of obesity, and smoker/non-smoker:
Because they were overweight, 40-year-old females lost 3.3 years of their lives while 40-year-old men lost 3.1 years of expectancy.
Forty year old females who met the criteria for obesity lost 7.1 years of life and 40-year-old obese men lost 5.8 years.
If the obese females were smokers, 13.3 years of life were lost while obese male smokers lost 13.7 years.
A recent Oxford University study of almost one million people worldwide found that even moderate obesity reduces lifespan by three years while severe obesity steals ten years away.
The data base was centered in Europe and North America, and subjects were followed for ten to fifteen years. There were 100,000 of the subjects who died over the course of the study.
The Benefits of Weight Loss Surgery for Life Expectancy
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that examined the records of almost 10,000 gastric bypass patients against the data of 10,000 severely obese people found that those who had gastric bypass surgery had death rates reduced by 40%.
Reduction for death rates among those who had weight loss surgery was a 56% reduction for death from coronary artery disease, a 92% reduction for death from diabetes, and 60% reduction for death from cancer.
A computer model offered evidence that morbidly obese people would most likely live longer if they were to have gastric bypass surgery. Current evidence shows that treatments for diet, behavior, and pharmacology often do not conclude in significant weight loss. The results suggest that bariatric surgery might be the only viable therapy for medical conditions related to obesity.