The Average U.S. Life Expectancy Reduced by One Year Due to Growing Obesity Epidemic
The Obesity in the United States and the rest of the world is increasing at a shocking rate. A recent report revealed that almost 40 per cent of the country’s female population is obese and even children are piling on more weight than ever before. Despite increasing efforts to reverse the damaging effects of obesity on American’s health, this epidemic seems to be uncontrollable – and now it has shaved off an entire year from U.S. average life expectancy.
A Growing Epidemic
Obesity is one of the fastest growing epidemics in the United States which is a leading cause of diabetes, heart diseases, Alzheimer’s, cancers and a host of other serious health issues which can shorten life expectancy and result in an early death. According to the findings of two different reports, almost 38 per cent of adults and 17 per cent of teenagers are obese.
Whereas almost 5 per cent of men and 10 per cent of women are morbidly obese with a BMI of 40 or above. Surprisingly, the study noted that men who were habitual smokers were thinner than their nonsmoking counterparts. Even though the smoking status didn’t make any difference in weight for female participants, what the researchers did notice was that those who received education beyond high school were less likely to be obese.
Obesity Still a Major Cause of Death
Researchers are trying effortlessly to put a finger on the cause of obesity which is worsening in both teenagers and adults. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been poured in studies, awareness campaigns clinical trials, development of drugs and therapy programs to curb the epidemic but, despite 3 decades of counteractive efforts, Americans are still getting fatter than ever.
A new analysis reports a shocking rate of 186,000 deaths due to obesity-related diseases per year and rising healthcare costs which are increasing the American expenditure. Although the death rate is slightly lower than the past two decades, obesity is still considered one of the leading causes of death in America. Public health sector has made groundbreaking improvements in reducing deaths related to smoking but mortality rate due to obesity has not witnessed an impactful change yet.
Mortality Rate Has Not Seen Major Improvements
The mortality rate in the U.S. due to chronic and cardiovascular diseases as well as cancer has not seen a major improvement either in comparison to other developed countries in the past 15 years which made researchers from University of Pennsylvania question if obesity played a role in increasing mortality rates due to other serious health conditions. In order to establish a link, they examined all the recent editions of NHANES and death records in the past two decades.
The final paper, published in National Academy of Sciences journal, explained that increase in obesity has slowed down improvements in mortality rate by 0.54 per cent which has resulted in a shocking consequence: the average life expectancy of the American population has decreased by one year.
A Decrease in Life Expectancy
The data used by the study only included the highest BMIs in U.S. adults with ages ranging from 40 to 84 years and measured the trends of death records from 16 developed countries. The researchers explained that they didn’t use baseline measures for BMI since exercise and muscle mass can greatly influence the number and skew the results. Hence, only the highest BMI values were considered.
The study concluded that although the mortality rate did go down, the decrease was not consistent across different countries. Where the mortality rate in the U.S. saw only a 1.53 per cent decrease, the number was higher in other countries at 2.21 per cent.
In conclusion, obesity epidemic, which is more prevalent in the U.S than in any other included countries, slowed down improvements in the mortality rate by 23 per cent. Before the study, the common cause for decreased life expectancy was thought to be alcohol and drug abuse but it seems like several different factors can affect Americans’ health and longevity.
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