Health Risk Of Obesity Equals That Of A Smoker

Armen Hareyan's picture
Obesity and smoking risk
Advertisement

Obesity and smoking ten cigarettes a day have the same risk. The risks of obesity and smoking are the same. A study published in today's BMJ shows that obese adolescents have the same risk of premature death in adulthood as people who smoke more than 10 cigarettes a day, while those who are overweight have the same risk as less heavy smokers.

Smoking and obesity are two of the most important behavioural risk factors for premature death in the western world, but it is not known whether smoking and weight have combined effects on the risk of death.

The authors, led by Dr Martin Neovius at Karolinska Institute in Sweden, analysed the cause of death of over 45,000 men who underwent mandatory military conscription tests in Sweden. The participants all had their body mass index (BMI) measured and reported their smoking status at the age of 18 and were followed up for an average of 38 years. In total, the authors assessed 1.7 million person-years of follow-up in relation to the health and mortality of all the participants.

During the follow-up period 2,897 subjects died, the incidence of death was lowest for people with normal weight and highest in obese subjects.

Compared to normal weight adolescents, being overweight at the age of 18 increased the risk of premature death by just over a third, while being obese more than doubled the risk.

Advertisement

Being underweight carried no increased risk, irrespective of smoking status. However, being seriously underweight (a body mass index of less than 17) carried the same risk of premature death as being overweight.

Early death was also linked to the number of cigarettes participants smoked per day. This risk gradually increased the more participants smoked, with heavy smokers at more than double the risk of premature death compared to non-smokers.

But, interestingly, when the effects of weight and smoking were combined, the researchers found no significant change in the results. The combination of obesity and heavy smoking was associated with a large excess risk of early death (almost five times greater than normal weight non-smokers). However, there was no statistically significant interaction between these two factors.

This means that being overweight or obese at the age of 18 increases the risk of premature death, regardless of smoking status, they explain.

The authors note that since the baseline measurements for this study were carried out, the number of adolescent men who are overweight in Sweden has tripled and those who are obese has increased five-fold. However, the number of men who smoke and are underweight in Sweden has halved. Internationally, there have been marked increases in overweight and obesity, but also in adolescent smoking in some countries.

Dr Neovius and his colleagues therefore conclude that "overweight, obesity and smoking among adolescents remain important targets for intensified public health initiatives."

Contact: Dr Martin Neovius, Department of Medicine, Karolinska University Hospital, Sweden

Advertisement

Comments

I can relate to this article. It is so hard to lose weight, and so many people struggle with their weight problems all the time. It reminds me of my book that has recently been published. The main character of my book is overweight, and also has many issues and struggles with her weight. But in the end she overcomes them, and finally manages to lose the weight that she subconsciously put on to protect herself from being hurt by love, which I think, is something a lot of people out there tend to do without even realizing it. Being overweight is not just about the physical, it's also about what is going on with a person’s psychological issues. The main character also comes to realize the importance of healthy eating and fitness. I am a regular user of Facebook if anyone would like to talk to me about my book.
The Potential Results Of Obesity Obesity has been defined as when excess body fat accumulates in one to where their physical overgrowth makes the person unhealthy to varying degrees. Obesity is different than being overweight, as others determine obesity to be of a more serious concern. While obesity is not a disease, it is a serious health risk for one who has this risk. As measured by one’s body mass index (BMI), one’s BMI of 25 to 30 kg/m is considered overweight. If their BMI is 30 to 35 kg/m, they are class I obese, 35 to 40 BMI would be class II obese, and any BMI above 40 is class III obesity. Presently, with obesity affecting children progressively more, the issue of obesity has become a serious public health concern. In the United States, greater than one third of all citizens are obese, and this number continues to progress. Approximately half of all children under the age of 12 are either obese are overweight. About twenty percent of children ages 2 to 5 years old are either obese are overweight. The consequences of these stats on our children are very concerning, considering the health issues they may or likely experience as they get older. Worldwide, nearly one and a half billion people are either obese or overweight. In the United States, about one third of adults are either obese or overweight. Women of low socioeconomic status are likely to be twice as obese compared with those who are not at this status. It is now predicted that, for the first time in about 150 years, our life expectancy is suppose to decline because primarily of this obesity problem. Morbid obesity is defined as one who has a body mass index of 30 kg/m or greater, and this surgery, along with the three other types of surgery for morbid obesity, should be considered a last resort after all other methods to reduce the patient’s weight have chronically failed. Morbid obesity greatly affects the health of the patient in a very negative way. It has about 10 co-morbidities that can develop if the situation is not corrected. Some if not most of these co-morbidities are life-threatening. One solution beneficial in many cases of morbid obesity if one’s obesity is not eventually controlled or corrected is what is known as gastric bypass surgery. This is a type of bariatric surgery that essentially reduces the volume of the human stomach in order to correct and treat morbid obesity by surgical re-construction of the stomach and small intestine. Patients for such surgeries are those with a BMI of greater than 40, or a BMI greater than 35 if the patient has co-morbidities aside from obesity. This surgery should be considered for the severely obese when other treatment options have failed. The standard of care illustrating as to whether this surgery is reasonable and necessary should be clarified. There are three surgical variations of gastric bypass surgery, and one is chosen by the surgeon based on their experience and success from the variation they will utilize. Generally, these surgeries are procedures related to gastric restrictive operations or mal-absorptive operations. Over 200,000 gastric bypass surgeries are performed each year, and this surgery being performed continues to progress as a suitable option for the morbidly obese. There is evidence that this surgery is particularly beneficial for those obese patients that have non-insulin dependent Diabetes Mellitus as well. It is believed that the results of this surgery to correct morbid obesity greatly limits or prevents such co-morbidities associated with those who are obese. Yet about two percent of those who undergo this surgery die as a result from about a half a dozen complications that could occur. However, the surgery reduces the overall mortality of the patient by 40 percent or so, yet this percentage is debatable due to conflicting clinical studies at times. Age of the patient should be taken into consideration, as to whether or not the risks of this surgery outweigh any potential benefits for the patient who may have existing co-morbidities that have already caused physiological damage to the patient. Also what should be determined by the surgeon is the amount of safety, effectiveness, and rationale for a particular patient regarding those patients who are elderly, for example. Many feel bariatric surgery such as this should be considered as a last resort when exercise and diet have failed for a great length of time. If a person or a doctor is considering this type of surgery, there is a website dedicated to bariatric surgery, which is: www.asmbs.org, Dan Abshear