(NaturalNews) Being seriously overweight may reduce a person's life expectancy even more than smoking, according to a report by 250 leading scientists. According to the Foresight Report on obesity in the United Kingdom, having a body mass index higher than 30 (the definition used for "obese") decreases a person's life expectancy by an average of 9 years. Men with a body mass index higher than 45, however, have their life expectancy reduced by 13 years. In contrast, being a smoker reduces life expectancy by an average of 10 years.
Currently, 25 percent of adults in the United Kingdom are classified as obese. But the report projected that if current trends continue, 60 percent of British men will be obese by the year 2050, along with 50 percent of women and 25 percent of children.
Along with this increase, the report projected a 70 percent increase in Type-2 Diabetes, a 30 percent increase in strokes, a 20 percent increase in cases of coronary disease, and an increase in the incidence of certain cancers.
The report warned that the obesity crisis is exacerbated by the fact that being overweight is coming to be seen as "normal."
Lead author David King pointed out that normal behaviors in a modern, First World society do, in fact, lead people to become obese.
"We live in a consumer society which encourages us to eat. We have a sedentary lifestyle. It's an environment which means that if we just behave normally we will become obese," King said.
Dr. Susan Jebb of the Human Nutrition Research Unit agreed that lifestyle is the main problem. "We have prioritized cheap food above healthy food, and we have prioritized taking the car over walking," she said.
"This will need a major culture change and a long-term commitment from government," King said. "The obesity issue is getting worse every year and we have not got much time to act."