Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Smoking vs OverEating? Which is killing us faster?

From the Health Wars, a little bad news.

Obesity May Wipe Out Benefit of Anti-Smoking Effort, Study Says

Dec. 2 (Bloomberg) -- About 40 years of health improvements from declining numbers of smokers may be undermined because too many U.S. adults are obese, researchers said.

Under one scenario of obesity and smoking trends, by 2020 the future life expectancy of a typical 18-year-old would be shortened 8 months, according to a study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The number of adults who were obese more than doubled in 25 years to 72 million people, or 34 percent of U.S. adults, in 2006, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Public-health programs and rising cigarette taxes reduced smoking rates to 21 percent in 2008 from 37 percent in 1970, according to the CDC.

“We found that in a horse race between obesity and smoking, obesity won, in a bad way,” said Susan Stewart, an author of the study and a researcher at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Obesity-related medical costs reached $147 billion in 2008, or about 10 percent of U.S. medical spending, according to a CDC study published July 27. Other studies have found the obesity epidemic threatens efforts to reduce deaths from heart disease and breast cancer.

Today’s analysis found obesity accounts for 5 percent to 15 percent of U.S. deaths each year, while smoking is tied to 18 percent of deaths. Failing to change continuing increases in obesity could erode the steady gains in health seen in recent decades.

National Health Assessment

Researchers from Harvard University, the University of Michigan and the economic research bureau used data from three large U.S. health assessment surveys to forecast life expectancy through 2020. Obesity was defined as having a body-mass index of 30 or greater, or about 192 pounds for person who is 5 feet 7 inches tall. Body-mass index is a method to determine body fat.

“If past obesity trends continue unchecked, the negative effects on the health of the U.S. population will increasingly outweigh the positive effects gained from declining smoking rates,” the authors wrote in the study.

The effort to reduce smoking “is probably one of the greatest health achievements in the 20th century,” said Sara Bleich, an obesity researcher at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, who wasn’t involved with the study. “Reduction of obesity should be the primary focus of public health efforts in the 21st century.

As of 2005, a typical 18-year-old male was expected to live to about age 76, while an 18-year-old woman would live to about age 81, according to the U.S. Social Security Administration.

Reduced Life Expectancy

If current obesity and smoking trends continue, by 2020 the life expectancy ages would subtract 0.71 years, or 8 months from future gains, according to today’s research.

If every U.S. adult stopped smoking and reached a normal weight, life expectancy for an 18-year-old would increase by 3.76 years, the authors estimated.

“Life expectancy will continue to rise but less rapidly than it otherwise would have” because of obesity, the researchers wrote.

The study is a “sophisticated analysis’” of the comparative risks of obesity and smoking in the general public, Bleich said in an interview. The study wasn’t designed to examine variations by race and ethnicity, which may produce “important differences” in life expectancy, she said.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The bald pig and the fat fuck! Yowza!

11:14 PM  

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