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New Study: Effects of Obesity Epidemic Much Worse Than Previously Reported

A new study published this week in the American Journal of Public Health links 18.2 percent of premature deaths in the United States between 1986 and 2006 to obesity, a nearly fourfold increase over what had widely been cited.

"The death toll of the nation's obesity epidemic may be close to four times higher than has been widely believed, and all that excess weight could reverse the steady trend of lengthening life spans for a generation of younger Americans, new research warns."

"The new figures do not reflect newly discovered facts about obesity's effects on health," notes Melissa Healy. "Rather, they emerged after the researchers applied a finer-grained approach to examining obesity across the U.S. population."

"The new calculations were met with some skepticism among those who study the cost, health and mortality effects of disease across broad populations," she adds. "Roland Sturm, a senior economist at the Rand Corp. in Santa Monica, said that if the number of weight-related deaths because of obesity had grown by a couple of percentage points, that would have seemed reasonable. But a more-than-threefold increase?"

"Not likely," he said.


Full Story: Obesity's death toll could be higher than believed, study says

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