News / Health

Quality of Life Decreases as Weight Increases

Increase in obesity means fewer 'good' days for many Americans

Here in the United States, the rate of obesity doubled over a span of 16 years.
Here in the United States, the rate of obesity doubled over a span of 16 years.

Multimedia

Audio
Art Chimes

Americans continue to gain weight and it's having a negative impact on their quality of life, according to a new report.

Poor eating habits and a lack of exercise are two of the reasons people gain weight.

Here in the United States, the rate of obesity doubled over a span of 16 years. But the increase in obesity has had a disproportionate impact on Americans' health and longevity.  

The effect of a disease — or a condition like obesity — can be tallied by a measure called quality-adjusted life years lost. It's a way of showing in one number that, for example, a diabetic or an obese person died sooner but also had years of poor health.

City College of New York professor Erica Lubetkin is one of the authors of a new study that looked at the loss of quality life years due to obesity and how that changed between 1993 and 2008.

"The rate of obesity significantly increased, in fact it was almost double, it was about 89 percent," she explained. "And with regard to the burden of disease it more than doubled, it increased over that 16 year period of time about 127 percent."

Lubetkin and her co-author based their findings on a massive collection of data, covering 3.5 million people. That large data set allowed them to analyze information for the 50 U.S. states separately, and also to identify trends by race and gender.

For example, one question they wanted to answer was whether the loss of quality life years was due to people dying sooner — mortality — or living in poor health — morbidity.

"And for women, we found that morbidity played a greater role, but for men, mortality played a greater role," added Lubetkin.

Black women, in particular, had higher rates of obesity throughout the 16 years studied, and they paid the biggest price in terms of quality-adjusted years of life lost.

"In terms of the burden of disease, it increased for everyone, but in particular it was black women who had 31 percent more in 2008 quality-adjusted life years lost compared to black men. And compared to white women and white men, it was 50 percent higher."

Speaking via Skype, Lubetkin pointed to a clear link between the lack of exercise and the bad health consequences of obesity. U.S. states where more people said they got no physical exercise outside work lost more quality adjusted life years.

"We can say that 50 percent of the burden of obesity can be contributed by having no leisure time physical activity," she said.

Lubetkin's paper is published in the "American Journal of Preventive Medicine."  

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regreti
X
Zana Omer
March 28, 2015 1:19 AM
Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Virginia Tavern Takes Patrons Back to Medieval Times

European martial arts are not widely practiced and are unknown by most people. A tavern in Old Town Alexandria, outside Washington, wants to change this by promoting these fighting techniques from medieval times. Through combining visual arts, martial arts and culinary arts, this tavern brings medieval history back to life. VOA's Yang Lin and Helen Wu report.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More