Obesity May Cause One In Five Deaths, Says New Study

Elaine Radford - Author

Aug. 17 2013, Updated 5:56 a.m. ET

Has the number of obesity deaths been grossly underestimated? Could it be that almost one in five deaths in the United States are caused by being obese?

According to WebMD, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have previously said that about five percent of US deaths are caused by obesity.

That means that the new study almost quadruples the number of deaths caused by being obese.

The study was published Thursday in the American Journal Of Public Health. Study author Ryan Masters, who conducted the research at the Columbia University’s School of Public Health in New York, stated: “Obesity has dramatically worse health consequences than some recent reports have led us to believe.”

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Dr. Masters said that 18 percent of Americans between the ages of 40 and 85 die as a result of obesity. But he believes that previous researchers missed the fact because they didn’t look at how generational differences have affected Americans.

But is it credible? People in our society live longer than ever before in human history. And since people tend to gain weight as they age, people are naturally going to weigh in at a higher weight than ever before.

Medscape said that some health experts believe that a few extra pounds are somewhat protective of an older person’s health.

But the new study disputed that. Their data said that being chubby didn’t help an older person live longer.

Oddly, the more recently you were born, the more likely that being overweight would make you die earlier. The researchers speculated that more recent generations gain the weight at younger ages, which means that their bodies are obese for a longer part of their lifespans.

“[M]ore than a century of steady gains in life expectancy are being jeopardized by the obesity epidemic,” the report concluded.

However, some experts criticized the study. For instance, Emory University health policy professor Ken Thorpe told USA Today that the new obesity deaths study simply didn’t control properly for other causes of death like alcohol use, smoking, or poor access to health care.


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