Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Largest Study Ever Adds Weight to Obesity-Death Connection

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Largest Study Ever Adds Weight to Obesity-Death Connection

Article excerpt

A study of more than 1 million Americans provides the most convincing evidence yet that simply being overweight can cut your life short.

The study, the largest ever done on obesity and mortality, found that overweight people run a higher rate of premature death. And this was true even among people who didn't smoke and were otherwise healthy during their middle years.

The study was conducted by the American Cancer Society and published in today's New England Journal of Medicine.

It settles once and for all any lingering questions about whether weight alone increases the risk of death and disease, said JoAnn Manson, a Harvard University endocrinologist and preventive-health specialist.

"The evidence is now compelling and irrefutable," Manson said. "Obesity is probably the second-leading preventable cause of death in the United States after cigarette smoking, so it is a very serious problem."

The study found an especially clear association between excess weight and a higher risk of dying from heart disease or cancer.

And unlike a similar study last year that suggested being overweight is less of a problem as people grow older, this study found many more deaths among overweight people of all ages, especially those over 75.

More adults and children are overweight than ever before, with 55 percent of American adults weighing more than they should.

"The message is we're too fat and it's killing us. We need to come up with ways as a society to eat less and exercise more," said American Cancer Society epidemiologist Eugenia Calle, lead author of the study.

Manson said: "It's going to take a coordinated campaign to turn this around, at the community level, at the environmental level, with changes in the food industry and marketing industry, having more bike paths and sidewalks."

Black women were found to be the only exceptions to the rule. …

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