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A study of 3.9 million adults published today in The Lancet finds that being overweight or obese is associated with an increased risk of premature death. The risks of coronary heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease and cancer are all increased. Overall, the excess risk of premature death (before age 70) among those who are overweight or obese is about three times as great in men as in women.

WHO estimates that 1.3 billion adults worldwide are overweight, and that a further 600 million are obese. The prevalence of adult obesity is 20% in Europe and 31% in North America. WHO uses body-mass index (BMI, in kg/m2), which relates weight to height, and defines BMI 18.5-25 as normal, 25-30 as overweight, 30-35 as moderately obese, and over 40 as severely obese.

Read more (Nuffield Department of Population Health website)