Sunday, August 27, 2006

Just a few extra pounds at age 50 increases death risk 20-40%: study

Americans who Carry just a few extra pounds at age 50 raise their risk of dying 20 to 40 percent compared with those who are at the optimal weight, a study says. The finding, gathered over 10 years, come from a study of more than 500,000 member of the AARP, the organization for older Americans. The increased risk was most pronounced among overweight people who didn't smoke, eliminating another major risk factor, the researchers said. The risk from carrying 10 to 20 extra pounds has been debated for years In medical circles. While no one disputes the fact that the obese are more likely to develop diabetes, heart disease and cancer, the danger from a few pounds that gradually creep on with age has been less clear, researchers said. "We know that being obese causes all sorts of health risks to increase," said Lawrence Cheskin, director of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center in Baltimore. "What is hard to demonstrate is that for people who are not extremely heavy, there is a risk of actual death". The new study shows the risk, said Cheskin, a physician who wasn't involved in the research. The study, which appears in the Aug. 24 New England Journal of Medicine, was conducted by the National Cancer Insitute, the National Institutes of Health and the AARP all based in Washington. About 136.5 million Americans age 20 or older were classified as overweight or obese in 2004, according to the American Heart Association. U.S. health officials have expressed concren that the growing number of overweight or obese Americans will place extra strain on the medical system. Gannett News Service

Posted by Briley Knox
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