Never Too Late to Lose Weight
Shedding those excess pounds improves your quality of life.
By Lynda Liu
"As a society, we're getting heavier and heavier, and there's a cost associated with it in terms of our health," says the study's lead author, Eugenia E. Calle, PhD, the director of analytic epidemiology at the American Cancer Society's department of epidemiology and surveillance research in Atlanta, Georgia. Obesity rates in this country have increased from 12% in 1991 to 18% in 1998, according to another study published earlier this year in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
While death rates from all diseases increased with the number of excess pounds, Calle and her co-researchers found that certain diseases had particularly strong associations with obesity. The heaviest participants had a 40 to 80% higher risk of dying from cancer than participants of normal weight. Extra pounds put both men and women at higher risk for heart disease -- but in men the added risk was particularly striking: The heaviest men were three times more likely to die from heart disease than men of normal weight.