Among more than 9,500 Americans surveyed,
obesity was associated
with higher rates of chronic medical problems and a poorer
quality of life than was alcohol abuse, smoking and poverty.
What's more, there are more overweight and obese adults in the US today than there are smokers or problem drinkers, according to findings published in the current issue of the British journal Public Health.
While 36% of respondents were overweight
and 23% were obese, about 14% were poor, 6% heavy drinkers
and 19% daily smokers.
These findings highlight the need
for public programs that target obesity rates in America.
Americans haven't given overweight the
same attention as other risks, like smoking, but it is clearly
a top health problem and one that is on the rise in all
segments of the population.
These findings reinforce prior recommendations
that weight control become a higher national priority, especially
given the dramatic increases in prevalence of overweight.
Resreachers analyzed data from interviews
with adults nationwide regarding their height, weight, income,
smoking and drinking habits and chronic medical conditions.
People who smoked throughout their lives
and lived in poverty were significantly more likely to have
a chronic disease such as asthma, diabetes, arthritis or
heart disease. But the effects of smoking and poverty were
smaller than those of obesity on both a person's health
and quality of life.
Obesity is highly prevalent and associated
with at least as much morbidity in terms of chronic medical
conditions and reduction in physical health-related quality-of-life
as are poverty, smoking, and problem drinking.
Obesity has been shown to raise the risk of
- heart disease
- high blood pressure and certain types of cancer
But research also shows that while even
modest weight loss can improve health, Americans continue
to pack on the pounds.
people disagree with my recommendation to not stop smoking
and to focus on the sugar restriction, as it is a far more
important contribution to bad health than cigarettes. Grains
break down rapidly to sugar and contribute significantly
to weight gain and obesity and also need to be restricted.
This study tends to validate that
assessment. Not completely, but close enough.
The confounding variables are that
not all people who eat sugar become obese, any many obese
people do not eat sugar.
However, the observation seems to
be accurate in the vast majority of individuals.
This is especially true when one
is attempting to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Most smokers
seem to stop smoking prior to improving their diet.
I believe this is a terrible mistake
as most smokers invariably choose more junk food to compensate
for their loss. Additionally, most smokers go through a
depression when the give up their smoking habit, thus making
it enormously difficult for them to attempt any serious