Health Shorts: Obesity is now the greatest health risk

February 17, 2010

As the number of smokers’ declines, obesity has now emerged as an equal health risk. In a study published this month in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers concluded that Quality-Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) lost because of obesity “is now equal to, if not greater than those lost due to smoking.”

The calculations were based on data from the 1993-2008 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. During this period, the proportion of smokers in the United States declined by 18.5 percent while the proportion of obese persons increased by 85 percent. While smoking was more likely to result in death, obesity had a greater impact on illness, including heart disease, diabetes and arthritis.

[SOURCE: “Obesity now poses as great a threat to quality of life as smoking,” Medical News Today, Jan. 5, 2010; Haomiao Jia, and Erica I. Lubetkin, “Trends in quality-adjusted life-years lost contributed by smoking and obesity," American Journal of Preventive Medicine, February 2010]

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated February 18, 2010