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Study: Extreme Obesity Cuts 14 Years Off Life

The late Manuel Uribe, once known as the world's largest man, talks on the phone at his home in the suburb of San Nicolas de los Garza, in Monterrey, Mexico, Aug. 8, 2008.

It is no secret that being obese is a health risk, but a new study shows just how dangerous being overweight can be.

Medical researchers say being severely obese can cut as much as 14 years off a person's life — about the same as smoking.

The study says those who are extremely overweight are at greater risk of dying early from heart disease, cancer, diabetes or a stroke.

Doctors calculate weight and height to come up with a number called body mass index. People with a BMI of 40 or more are considered to be extremely obese.

The study appears in the online medical journal PLOS Medicine.

Some information for this report comes from Reuters.