It's still smoking, but now according to the Centers for Disease Control, obesity is a close second.
The government says poor diet and insufficient exercise contributed to 400,000 deaths in the year 2000, nearly as many as were caused by smoking.
The results of the study appear in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
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Overweight and Obesity
- Overweight refers to an excess of body weight compared to set standards. The excess weight may come from muscle, bone, fat, and/or body water.
- Obesity refers specifically to having an abnormally high proportion of body fat.
- One can be overweight without being obese, as in the example of a bodybuilder or other athlete who has a lot of muscle. However, many people who are overweight are also obese.
Determining your weight
- A number of methods are used to determine if an individual is overweight or obese.
- Body Mass Index (BMI) can be used to measure both overweight and obesity in adults. It is the measurement of choice for many obesity researchers and other health professionals.
- BMI is a direct calculation based on height and weight, and it is not gender-specific.
- To determine BMI using pounds and inches, multiply your weight in pounds by 704.5, then divide the result by your height in inches, and divide that result by your height in inches a second time.
- The National Institutes of Health (NIH) identify overweight as a BMI of 25-29.9, and obesity as a BMI of 30 or greater.
- One problem with using BMI as a measurement tool is that very muscular people may fall into the "overweight" category when they are actually healthy and fit.
- Further evaluation of a patient should be performed to determine his or her weight status and associated health risks.
Overweight and Obesity are known risk factors for:
- Heart disease
- Gallbladder disease
- Osteoarthritis (degeneration of cartilage and bond of joints)
- Sleep apnea and other breathing problems
- Some forms of cancer (uterine, breast, colorectal kidney, and gallbladder)
Obesity is associated with:
- High blood cholesterol
- Complications of pregnancy
- Menstrual irregularities
- Hirsutism (presence of excess body facial hair)
- Stress incontinence (urine leakage caused by weak pelvic-floor muscles)
- Psychological disorders such as depression
- Increased surgical risk
Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity
- Overweight and obesity are found worldwide, and the prevalence of these conditions in the United States ranks high along with other developed nations.
- Approximately 280,000 adult deaths in the United States each year are attributable to obesity.
- More than half of U.S. adults are overweight.
- Nearly one-quarter of U.S. adults are obese.
- As the prevalence of overweight and obesity has increased in the United States, so have related health care costs--both direct and indirect.
- Direct health care costs refer to preventive, diagnostic, and treatment services (physician visits, medications, and hospital and nursing home care).
- Indirect costs are the value of wages lost by people unable to work because of illness or disability, as well as the value of future earnings lost by premature death.
Source: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health/nutrit/pubs/statobes.htm (The National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases Web site)