Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Obesity approaching cigarette smoking as leading avoidable cause of premature deaths worldwide

Date:
January 31, 2013
Source:
Florida Atlantic University
Summary:
A new study finds that there has been a systematic underestimation during the last several decades of the hazards of obesity and its contribution to avoidable and premature deaths from cardiovascular disease, cancer and other causes.

Dr. Charles H. Hennekens, M.D., Dr.P.H., the first Sir Richard Doll Professor and senior academic advisor to the dean in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University has published a report in the current issue of the American Journal of Medicine that obesity is becoming as big a hazard worldwide, comparable to cigarette smoking.

The epidemic of obesity in the United States as well as globally, contributes to avoidable and premature deaths from cardiovascular disease, cancer and other causes. He notes that obesity is the leading avoidable cause of the current epidemic of type 2 diabetes in the U.S., which is also increasing worldwide. He also notes that during the last several decades, there has been a systematic underestimation of the hazards of obesity.

Hennekens has published these findings with co-author Felicita Andreotti, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine at Catholic University in Rome, Italy.

"I am deeply concerned that the United States is the fattest society in the world and likely to be the fattest in the history of the world," said Hennekens. "Unfortunately, most people prefer prescription of pills to proscription of harmful lifestyles. I am, however, optimistic that weight loss of 5 percent or more combined with a brisk walk for 20 or more minutes daily will significantly reduce cardiovascular and total deaths."

In the commentary, Hennekens emphasizes the importance of therapeutic lifestyle changes beginning in childhood. As this current generation of American children and adolescents reach middle age, morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular disease will increase. This generation of adolescents are more obese and less physically active than their parents and already have higher rates of type 2 diabetes. It is likely that the current generation of children and adolescents in the U.S. will be the first since 1960 to have higher mortality rates than their parents due mainly to cardiovascular disease, including coronary heart disease and stroke. In addition, obesity is a major risk factor for several cancers, especially colorectal, but also breast and prostate.

Hennekens notes that clinicians should not let the perfect be the enemy of the possible. For American adults, this implies the need for evidence-based doses of drugs of lifesaving benefit for those at high risk. He also comments that in the U.S. today, 40 percent of adults age 40 and over have metabolic syndrome, a constellation of obesity, lipid abnormalities, hypertension and insulin resistance, a precursor of diabetes. These individuals have a 10-year risk of a first coronary event of 16 to 18 percent and require aggressive management to lower their high risks of premature death and disability.

According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, approximately two-thirds of adults age 20 or older are overweight or obese with body mass indexes (BMI) greater than 25, and nearly one-third have BMI's greater than 30. Less than one-third of them are at a healthy weight with a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9. In 1995, the economic cost of overweight and obesity in the U.S. alone was estimated to be $117 billion.

Hennekens cautions that "unless Americans lose weight and increase their levels of physical activity, cardiovascular disease will remain the leading killer in the U.S." He adds, "the export of our diet and lifestyle, which increases rates of obesity, together with tobacco, to developing countries will result in cardiovascular disease emerging as the leading killer in the world."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Florida Atlantic University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Charles H. Hennekens, Felicita Andreotti. Leading Avoidable Cause of Premature Deaths Worldwide: Case for Obesity. The American Journal of Medicine, 2013; 126 (2): 97 DOI: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2012.06.018

Cite This Page:

Florida Atlantic University. "Obesity approaching cigarette smoking as leading avoidable cause of premature deaths worldwide." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130131083755.htm>.
Florida Atlantic University. (2013, January 31). Obesity approaching cigarette smoking as leading avoidable cause of premature deaths worldwide. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130131083755.htm
Florida Atlantic University. "Obesity approaching cigarette smoking as leading avoidable cause of premature deaths worldwide." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130131083755.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is blaming doctors for the low number of children being vaccinated for HPV. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. 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