Obesity Decreases Life Expectancy - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/16/05

Obesity Decreases Life Expectancy

If Americans keep getting fatter, we won't have to worry about social security running out, because we won't be living long enough to need it. Sounds cold, but that's the bottom line from a new report that suggests if the obesity epidemic continues. Americans won't be living longer, as the government has predicted.

"We saw extreme obesity occurring at a very rapid pace at very young ages and as those children age as they grow older, they will express obesity induced mortality at far greater rates than their parents' generation," says Jap Olshansky, Ph.D., Longevity Researcher at the University of Illinois.

That's because researchers estimate obesity currently cuts life expectancy by four to nine months....since it is to blame for a number of deadly health problems. Everything from diabetes to heart disease. But researchers hope this gloomy forecast will at least raise awareness and increase funding for obesity research ...in an effort to change this forecast before it becomes a reality.

Last month, the CDC released new life expectancy numbers and found the average American is expected to live to be 77 and a half years old. That's three and a half months longer than people were expected to live in 2002. Researchers note that such reports fail to factor in the obesity impact.

According to the CDC, obesity and overweight are the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States. The largest increases in obesity have occurred among children and minorities.

The study was conducted at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. David Ludwig, Associate Professor and Director of the Obesity Program at Children's Hospital Boston is a co-author of the study. The research is published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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