Obesity Undercutting Life Expectancy Gains

December 3rd, 2009 by MorganDowney Leave a reply »

A study published December 3, 2009 in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that the negative effects of the increasing rates of obesity in the US will overwhelm the positive effects of declines in smoking rates. The researchers from Harvard University used multiple scenarios which came to similar conclusions.  The authors believe that life expectancy itself is likely to continue to improve due to improvements in medical care but the improvements will be less rapid than otherwise due to obesity. They conclude, “ Efforts to improve health should focus on stabilization or reversal of trends in BMI, continued reductions in tobacco use, and better control of the clinical risk factors associated with obesity and smoking. Inadequate progress in these areas could result in an erosion of the pattern of steady gains in health observed in the United States since the early 20th Century.” NEJM — Forecasting the Effects of Obesity and Smoking on U.S. Life Expectancy