Obesity has cut three to four years from US life expectancy


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In my book, SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat, I predicted that if the current obesity epidemic was not dealt with, that our children could become the first in American history to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. Why? Because kids who are overweight or obese can have their life shortened by eight to twenty years by a plethora of obesity-related illnesses, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease (heart attacks and strokes).

Now USA Today reports, “Smoking, a declining habit, and obesity, a burgeoning problem, have cut three to four years off the increasing life expectancy of Americans, an international longevity comparison concludes.”

Across the US, “men’s life expectancy at birth jumped about five years and women’s increased about three years from 1980 to 2007.”

However, “the National Research Council report finds that lung cancer, respiratory illness, and heart disease have led to those increases lagging the average increase in 21 other high-income nations.”

the AP is reportingthat despite the amount of money the US spends on healthcare, it still “has worse life expectancy than many.”

For example, US “life expectancy at birth was 80.8 years for women and 75.6 years for men in 2007,” compared to 84.4 years for women “and 77.4 for men” in France. “And in Japan, it was nearly 86 years for women and 79.2 for men.”

Bloomberg News points out, “The National Institute on Aging requested the report because of concerns about the “relatively poor performance of the United States” with respect to life expectancy, considering the US spends significantly more on health care than any other nation, the report said.”

According to the Los Angeles Times “Booster Shots” blog, “Obesity may account for one-fifth to one-third of the shortfall in US life expectancy as compared with other countries, the report states.”

And, although “the US healthcare system prolongs life, it’s not nearly as effective when it comes to prevention, research said.”

If you’d like to help your kids prevent or treat childhood overweight or obesity, consider picking up a copy of my book, SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat. It’s on sale in a hardcover ($3.99) and softcover ($1.99) edition at my Web site.

 

For adults seeking to become more highly healthy, you may want to consider another of my books, 10 Essentials of Happy, Healthy People: Becoming and staying highly healthy. Signed copies are available here.

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