Obesity causes more deaths than thought, according to a recent study from Columbia University. It is responsible for nearly three times as many deaths among middle-aged adults and older Americans than previously believed.
This is not too surprising, but it does make me think about all the impacts of obesity. It truly is the biggest problem of our time, in my opinion, as a registered nurse and healthy eating expert.
Researchers from Columbia University found that obesity accounted for nearly 20 percent of all deaths for white and black Americans aged 40 to 85. Previously, researchers thought about 5 percent of deaths could be attributed to obesity.
In a statement about the study, researchers said that obesity has dramatically worse health consequences than some recent reports have led us to believe. And that they expect that obesity will be responsible for an increasing share of deaths in the U.S. and perhaps lead to declines in the overall life expectancy for our country in the process.
Obesity often leads to negative health consequences such as heart disease, stroke and type II diabetes, among other conditions and diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that more than one-third of American adults (35.7 percent) are obese today.
Battling the obesity epidemic may prove to be more challenging for our younger generation, according to researchers. While various other reports cite obesity rates are on the decline for certain groups and areas around the country, obesity-related deaths may continue to climb since it is a difficult condition to reverse.
Today’s 5-year old growing up, obesity is the norm rather than a generation ago, said the researchers. And, once someone is obese, it is very difficult to undo. So it reasons to stand that we truly won’t see the worst of the obesity epidemic until the current generation of children grows old.
With findings like these, it only reinforces my belief that we must be more aggressive about treating obesity and preventing it. Children must be our focus and we must be good role models as adults to truly stop this cycle of premature deaths courtesy of obesity.