A fresh look at Obesity – Harvard

I have been writing about obesity for years here. There are included links at the bottom of this post if you want to read further on the subject.


Madeline Drexler, Editor, Harvard Public Health, wrote in the Spring 2017 issue: “According to 2014 national data, 35 percent of adult men and 40.4 percent of adult women are obese—that is, their body mass index, or BMI, a standard calculation of weight divided by height, is greater than or equal to 30. (Normal BMI is 18.5 to 24.9; overweight is 25 to 29.9.) Among youth 2 to 19 years old, the prevalence of obesity is 17 percent, and extreme obesity (a BMI at or above 120 percent of the 95th percentile on standard child growth charts), 5.8 percent. All told, more than 70 percent of Americans ages 20 and over are either overweight or obese.

“It is not a matter of benign padding. Compared with those with a normal or healthy weight, people who are obese face increased risk for dying of all causes and, more specifically, for suffering cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, certain cancers (20 percent of cancers in women and 16 percent in men are related to obesity), depression and anxiety, and many other chronic health complications.

“Mounting research, including a 2016 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), suggests that U.S. life expectancy may be starting to decline—the first time since 1993, when HIV-related deaths were peaking. Age-adjusted death rates for the first nine months of 2015 rose sharply compared with the same period in 2014—and, most notably, involved causes of death linked to obesity. If this trajectory continues, the health complications of obesity in America will soon eclipse the benefits from declines in smoking.”

For further reading:

How does obesity affect you?

What about belly fat? Central Obesity

A scary look at obesity statistics



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Filed under Harvard Health Publications, obesity

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