Obesity is more dangerous than smoking
Obesity is now a bigger threat to people's health than smoking, scientists have warned. A study has shown that expanding waistlines now cause more diseases than tobacco.health and fitness Updated: Jan 06, 2010 18:29 IST
Their study has shown that expanding waistlines now cause as much or more disease than tobacco and do as much or more to shorten healthy lifespans.
To reach this conclusion, researchers from Columbia University and the City College of New York calculated the Quality-Adjusted Life Years (Qalys) lost due to both obesity and smoking.
Qalys are an internationally recognised measure of health gain or loss associated with treatments, diseases or injuries.
The results are based on interviews with 3.5 million adults, the largest ongoing health study in the US. Between 1993 and 2008, the proportion of smokers fell by 18.5 per cent while the proportion who were obese rose by 85 per cent.
Smoking was found to cause more deaths, but obesity caused more illness. Experts on both sides of the Atlantic have warned that the rise in obesity could lead to the first decline in life expectancy in 200 years.
"Although life expectancy has increased over time, the increase in Qalys lost from obesity may result in a decline in future life expectancy. Such data are essential in setting targets for reducing modifiable health risks and eliminating health disparities," the Independent quoted Haomiao Jia and Erica Lubetkin as saying.
The study has been published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.