Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Being Overweight Just As Risky To Health As Being A Smoker

Date:
March 2, 2009
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
Obese adolescents have the same risk of premature death in adulthood as people who smoke more than 10 cigarettes a day, while those who are overweight have the same risk as less heavy smokers.

Obese adolescents have the same risk of premature death in adulthood as people who smoke more than 10 cigarettes a day, while those who are overweight have the same risk as less heavy smokers, according to research published on the British Medical Journal website.

Smoking and obesity are two of the most important behavioural risk factors for premature death in the western world, but it is not known whether smoking and weight have combined effects on the risk of death.

The authors, led by Dr Martin Neovius at Karolinska Institute in Sweden, analysed the cause of death of over 45,000 men who underwent mandatory military conscription tests in Sweden. The participants all had their body mass index (BMI) measured and reported their smoking status at the age of 18 and were followed up for an average of 38 years. In total, the authors assessed 1.7 million person-years of follow-up in relation to the health and mortality of all the participants.

During the follow-up period 2,897 subjects died, the incidence of death was lowest for people with normal weight and highest in obese subjects.

Compared to normal weight adolescents, being overweight at the age of 18 increased the risk of premature death by just over a third, while being obese more than doubled the risk.

Being underweight carried no increased risk, irrespective of smoking status. However, being seriously underweight (a body mass index of less than 17) carried the same risk of premature death as being overweight.

Early death was also linked to the number of cigarettes participants smoked per day. This risk gradually increased the more participants smoked, with heavy smokers at more than double the risk of premature death compared to non-smokers.

But, interestingly, when the effects of weight and smoking were combined, the researchers found no significant change in the results. The combination of obesity and heavy smoking was associated with a large excess risk of early death (almost five times greater than normal weight non-smokers). However, there was no statistically significant interaction between these two factors.

This means that being overweight or obese at the age of 18 increases the risk of premature death, regardless of smoking status, they explain.

The authors note that since the baseline measurements for this study were carried out, the number of adolescent men who are overweight in Sweden has tripled and those who are obese has increased five-fold. However, the number of men who smoke and are underweight in Sweden has halved. Internationally, there have been marked increases in overweight and obesity, but also in adolescent smoking in some countries.

Dr Neovius and his colleagues therefore conclude that "overweight, obesity and smoking among adolescents remain important targets for intensified public health initiatives."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Being Overweight Just As Risky To Health As Being A Smoker." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090224230749.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2009, March 2). Being Overweight Just As Risky To Health As Being A Smoker. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090224230749.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Being Overweight Just As Risky To Health As Being A Smoker." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090224230749.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins