Obese teenagers carry same risk as smoking 10 cigarettes a day
Chance of early death from preventable diseases high for overweight adolescents
By Steve Connor, Science Editor
Wednesday, 25 February 2009
Overweight teenagers run the same risk of an early death as people who smoke regularly – and the risk increases substantially with very fat adolescents.
Teenagers who are clinically obese have the same risk of premature death as someone who smokes more than 10 cigarettes a day. An investigation of 45,000 men whose health was monitored for 38 years has found that being overweight at the age of 18 is equivalent to being a regular smoker in terms of the overall risk of dying relatively early in life from preventable diseases.
Men who both smoked and were overweight as teenagers were likely to die even earlier than those who fell into just one or other of the risk groups. But the study did not find any evidence to suggest that smoking and obesity combined to produce even greater risks when found together.
Martin Neovius of the Karolinksa Institute in Stockholm, who carried out the study published in the British Medical Journal, said: "It shows the importance of measures to reduce obesity in adolescents. A lot of people are dying from preventable deaths. more