Did you know obesity is more dangerous than smoking? Here’s what a study suggests | fitness | Hindustan Times
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Did you know obesity is more dangerous than smoking? Here’s what a study suggests

Contrary to popular belief, obesity is a bigger threat to your life than smoking. According to the figures of a new study, obesity resulted in as much as 47% more life-years lost than tobacco, and tobacco caused similar life-years lost as high blood pressure.

fitness Updated: Apr 23, 2017 13:33 IST
According to the researchers, the greatest number of preventable life-years lost were due to (in order from greatest to least) obesity, diabetes, tobacco use, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
According to the researchers, the greatest number of preventable life-years lost were due to (in order from greatest to least) obesity, diabetes, tobacco use, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.(Shutterstock)

You may want to shed those extra kilos as a recent study has found obesity as a top cause of preventable life-years lost. The researchers from Cleveland Clinic and New York University School of Medicine found that obesity resulted in as much as 47% more life-years lost than tobacco, and tobacco caused similar life-years lost as high blood pressure.

Preliminary work presented at the 2017 Society of General Internal Medicine Annual Meeting analysed the contribution of modifiable behavioural risk factors to causes-of-death in the US population, using 2014 data.

Based on this preliminary work, the team found the greatest number of preventable life-years lost were due to (in order from greatest to least) obesity, diabetes, tobacco use, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. However, researchers also noted that some individuals may have needs that are very different than those of the broader US population. For an obese and alcoholic patient, for example, alcohol use may be more important to address than obesity, even though obesity has a greater impact on the population.

Results highlight the clinical and public health achievement of smoking cessation efforts because 15 years ago, tobacco would have topped the list. “Modifiable behavioural risk factors pose a substantial mortality burden in the US,” said lead author Glen Taksler. “These preliminary results continue to highlight the importance of weight loss, diabetes management and healthy eating.”

A key takeaway is that three (diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol) of the top five causes of death can be treated, so helping patients understand treatment options and approaches can have a powerful impact on life-years. The results also highlight the importance of preventive care in clinical practice and why it should be a priority for physicians.

According to the study, obesity resulted in as much as 47% more life-years lost than tobacco, and tobacco caused similar life-years lost as high blood pressure. (Shutterstock)

“The reality is, while we may know the proximate cause of a patient’s death, for example, breast cancer or heart attack, we don’t always know the contributing factor(s), such as tobacco use, obesity, alcohol and family history. For each major cause of death, we identified a root cause to understand whether there was a way a person could have lived longer,” added Taksler.