Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Obesity will snuff out health benefits gained by smoking declines

Date:
December 3, 2009
Source:
University of Michigan Health System
Summary:
If obesity trends continue, the negative effect on the health of the US population will overtake benefits gained from declining smoking rates.

If obesity trends continue, the negative effect on the health of the U.S. population will overtake the benefits gained from declining smoking rates, according to a study by U-M and Harvard researchers published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Related Articles


"Obesity plays a large role in life expectancy," said co-author Allison B. Rosen, assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan. "Despite the fact that we are smoking less, body-mass indexes (BMI) are going up. These increases in obesity are overtaking these changes in smoking behaviors."

Using a technical analysis that includes forecasting future trends based on historical data, researchers found that despite declines in smoking, the remaining life expectancy of a typical 18-year-old would be held back by 0.71 years by the year 2020 because of the increased body-mass index of the general population. The researchers also looked at quality of life. That same 18-year-old could expect to give up 0.91 years of increased quality-adjusted life expectancy.

If all U.S. adults became nonsmokers of normal weight by 2020, their life expectancy would be forecast to increase by 3.76 years or 5.16 quality-adjusted years.

However, the researchers say the study's results don't imply that life expectancy will fall -- more likely, life expectancy will continue to rise due to other factors, but less rapidly than it otherwise would.

"In the past 15 years, smoking rates have declined by 20 percent, but obesity rates have increased by 48 percent," says lead author Susan T. Stewart, Ph.D, a Harvard University research associate for the joint project of the National Bureau of Economic Research and Harvard's Program for Health System Improvement. "If past trends continue, nearly half of the population -- 45 percent -- is projected to be obese by 2020."

In addition to better managing clinical risk factors such as blood sugar among those who are obese, effective public health efforts are needed to address the roots of obesity, like sedentary lifestyles, the widespread availability of high-calorie food in large portions and reduced time for the preparation of food at home, says David Cutler, Ph.D., another co-author of this study and professor of Economics at Harvard University, as well as a research associate for the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Rosen said this study does not indicate that people are getting heavier because they are not smoking. The weight gain associated with quitting smoking is temporary and thus not significant enough to drive the rising trend in increased BMIs.

Public health efforts to discourage smoking have worked, and a similar effort could help turn around obesity rates, Rosen said. Many weight control interventions have proven successful and their use should be encouraged.

"Losing weight is harder than quitting smoking. People don't have to smoke to live. People have to eat to live," she said.

"The hypothetical scenario of having everyone a non-smoker of normal weight may be unachievable. But these results show the dramatic toll that both smoking and obesity can have on both the length of life and the quality of life."

The study was funded by the National Institute on Aging, the Harvard Interfaculty Program for Health Systems Improvement and the Lasker Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan Health System. The original article was written by Mary F. Masson. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Michigan Health System. "Obesity will snuff out health benefits gained by smoking declines." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091202172205.htm>.
University of Michigan Health System. (2009, December 3). Obesity will snuff out health benefits gained by smoking declines. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091202172205.htm
University of Michigan Health System. "Obesity will snuff out health benefits gained by smoking declines." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091202172205.htm (accessed November 29, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — One man hopes his invention -– a machine that produces cheap sanitary pads –- will help empower Indian women. Duration: 01:51 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO Says Male Ebola Survivors Should Abstain From Sex

WHO Says Male Ebola Survivors Should Abstain From Sex

Newsy (Nov. 28, 2014) — WHO cites four studies that say Ebola can still be detected in semen up to 82 days after the onset of symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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