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Obese young men, especially those
who smoke, likely to die prematurely: - study
LONDON (Reuters) Feb.25th
People who were obese at the age of 18 are twice as likely to
die prematurely compared to those who were normal-weight teenagers,
Swedish researchers said on Wednesday.
They also found that men who had
been overweight at 18 were one-third more likely to die prematurely
compared to their normal-weight peers.
The study of 45,920 men over an
average 38 years underlines the dangers of being overweight and
the need to tackle a growing obesity epidemic.
About 400 million people around
the world are classified by the World Health Organization as obese,
including 20 million children under the age of 5.
"Obesity and overweight were
as hazardous as heavy and light smoking," Martin Neovius
of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and his colleagues wrote
in the British Medical Journal.
"The obesity pandemic seems
to affect children and adolescents more than adults."
Neovius and his team analyzed
the cause of death of more than 45,000 men who had mandatory military
conscription tests in Sweden at the age of 18.
All had their body mass index
(BMI) measured and were asked whether they smoked. For the 3,000
who died during the 38-year follow up, the incidence of death
was highest among the obese.
Heavy smokers, considered those
who puff on 10 or more cigarettes daily, were twice as likely
to have died prematurely compared to non-smokers, the researchers
Since 1969, the number of overweight
men in Sweden has tripled and those who are obese has risen five-fold,
the researchers noted. This highlights an urgent need for public
health programmes to deal with the problem, they said.
"The global obesity epidemic
and smoking among adolescents remain important targets for intensified
public health initiatives," Neovius and colleagues wrote.
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