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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact 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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs