OBESITY DEADLIER THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT

The obesity mortality rate in the U.S. may be higher than previous thought.The prevalence of obesity in the United States is a serious issue of which many members of the health care field, including those in medical assisting, are well aware. There has been a dramatic rise in extreme obesity rates for both adults and children,1 and now new research has surfaced indicating that mortality rates from obesity are much higher than previously thought.2

According to researched published in the American Journal of Public Health, obesity accounts for 18 percent of deaths of people in the United States between the ages of 45 and 80. This is significantly higher than previous estimates, which placed the rate at just 5 percent of all American mortalities. The study’s authors used data from several national health surveys to compile his results.3

“This was more than a tripling of the previous estimate,” Ryan Masters, co-author of the study, said in a statement. “Obesity has dramatically worse health consequences than some recent reports have led us to believe.”

There are nearly 78 million obese adults in the U.S. and 13 million obese children.4 Although recent statistics show adult obesity levels holding steady across the country, the amount of adults who are extremely obese – defined as being at least 100 pounds overweight – has jumped from 1.4 percent to 6.3 percent since the 1970s.5

Masters and co-author Bruce Link said that younger generations have an even more significant risk of becoming obese because they are growing up in an environment where it is essentially the norm.

“Drink sizes are bigger, clothes are bigger and greater numbers of a child’s peers are obese,” Link, a professor of epidemiology and sociomedical science at Columbia University, said in a statement. “And once someone is obese, it is very difficult to undo. So, it stands to reason that we won’t see the words of the epidemic until the current generation of children grows old.”6

1 Heavey, Susan, Reuters, ‘U.S. obesity leveling off, but at a high rate – report,’ Aug. 16, 2013 – http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/16/us-usa-obesity-idUSBRE97F0QI20130816
2 Thompson, Dennis, HealthDay, ‘Obesity’s Death Toll May Be Much Higher Than Thought,’ Aug. 16, 2013 – http://consumer.healthday.com/senior-citizen-information-31/misc-death-and-dying-news-172/death-rate-from-obesity-679267.html
3 Fox, Maggie, NBC News, ‘Heavy burden: Obesity may be even deadlier than thought,’ Aug. 15, 2013 – http://www.nbcnews.com/health/heavy-burden-obesity-may-be-even-deadlier-thought-6C10930019
4 American Heart Association, ‘Obesity Information,’ June 26, 2013 – http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/WeightManagement/Obesity/Obesity-Information_UCM_307908_Article.jsp
5 Heavey, Susan, Reuters, ‘U.S. obesity leveling off, but at a high rate – report,’ Aug. 16, 2013 – http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/16/us-usa-obesity-idUSBRE97F0QI20130816
6 Thompson, Dennis, HealthDay, ‘Obesity’s Death Toll May Be Much Higher Than Thought,’ Aug. 16, 2013 – http://consumer.healthday.com/senior-citizen-information-31/misc-death-and-dying-news-172/death-rate-from-obesity-679267.html

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