Obesity is known to cause a debilitating effect on the human body. Being overweight makes one extremely susceptible to contracting other medical conditions.
According to some studies, one in every three American carries that extra flab on the body. What is worse is that the incidence of obesity is on the rise in the country.
Findings of a latest study suggest that the magnitude of damage that the menace of obesity is inflicting on the population of the country is much bigger than earlier thought.
A team of sociologists led by a Columbia University demographer, aver that close to 18.2 percent of premature deaths in the US that occurred between 1986 and 2006 can be attributed to the condition of obesity.
Hitherto, it was widely believed that obesity is responsible for 5 percent of premature deaths.
Researchers warn that the growing trend of obesity has the potency of reversing the trend of increasing life spans.
For the purpose of the study, researchers analyzed historical survey data. They scrutinized the past data across genders, ethnic groups and age groups and then juxtaposed it with the existing death statistics.
People who were obese as children and remained so in later life “have borne the greatest brunt of the obesity epidemic,” lead author of the study Ryan K. Masters said.
The latest study also dispels the notion that there exists an obesity paradox; a notion that obesity helps thwarts premature death as age increases. The study established that the chances of death of obese people continue to rise even after one crosses the age of 60.
The study findings, which claim that obesity related deaths may be four times higher than earlier thought, has raised certain questions in the minds of other experts.
Roland Sturm, a senior economist at the Rand Corp. in Santa Monica, said that even after taking into account the accuracy of estimates a more-than-threefold increase in obesity related deaths is too big a number to digest.