Obesity stopping people from living longer

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Although people live longer today than they did 50 years ago, people who were overweight and obese as teenagers aren’t experiencing the same gains as other segments of the population. [s]News Medical[/s] reports that this is according to a new study surveying 2.1m adolescents, published in the [s]Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism[/s]. The life expectancy of the average American born in 2011 was 78.7 years, according to the [b]US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention[/b]. The average lifespan has increased by more than a decade since 1950, but rising obesity rates threaten to take a toll on this progress. ‘In studying the rate of death among adults younger than age 50, we found that there was no improvement among men who were overweight or obese as teenagers,’ said one of the study’s authors, [b]Dr Amir Tirosh[/b] of the [b]Brigham and Women’s Hospital[/b]. ‘In fact, the mortality rate among overweight and obese teenagers in the years 2000 to 2010 was as high as the rate observed in the 1960s and 1970s.’

[i]On the other hand[/i], a new study from Australia finds that people aged 65 and over with a body mass index (BMI) in the overweight range live longer and suggests perhaps the [b]World Health Organisation[/b] (WHO) guidelines on BMI may not be suitable for older people, reports [s]Medical News Today[/s]. The WHO defines overweight as having a BMI greater than or equal to 25, and a BMI of 30 or over as obese. [b]Caryl Nowson, Professor of Nutrition and Ageing at Deakin University[/b], and colleagues found those with the lowest risk of death had a BMI of around 27.5. They also found those with a BMI between 22 and 23 – considered to be the normal weight range – had a significantly higher risk of death. They say their findings, which they report in the [s]American Journal of Clinical Nutrition[/s], question whether the WHO guidelines are suitable for older adults.

[i]Research from a team of doctors at the [b]University of East Anglia, University of Manchester and University of Aberdeen[/b][/i] found that obese people who have stomach surgery to help them lose weight will halve their risk of heart attack, reports [s]Medical Xpress[/s]. New research published in the [s]International Journal of Cardiology[/s] reviewed data from 14 studies involving more than 29,000 patients who underwent bariatric surgery. It reveals that death rates were reduced by 40%, and that heart attacks in particular were reduced by half – compared to obese people who did not have surgery. The research is the first comprehensive review of the impact of surgery on heart disease, stroke disease and death.

[i]British researchers have discovered a link between a gene that breaks down carbohydrates and obesity[/i], which may pave the way for more effective, individually tailored diets for people wanting to lose weight, reports [s]The Guardian[/s]. Researchers at [b]King’s College London[/b] and [b]Imperial College London[/b] found that people with fewer copies of a gene responsible for carbohydrate breakdown may be at higher risk of obesity. The findings, published in [s]Nature Genetics[/s], suggest that dietary advice may need to focus more on a person’s digestive system, based on whether they have the genetic predisposition and necessary enzymes to digest different foods.

Full News Medical report
JCEM abstract
Full Medical News Today report
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Full Medical Xpress report
IJC abstract
Full report in The Guardian
Nature Genetics abstract

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