More bad news on our top health threat

A new study is changing everything, finding that obesity significantly increases a person’s risk of death. A researcher from CU Boulder warns that obesity raises a person’s risk of death by anywhere from 22 to a staggering 91 percent. And what are we doing about it? Nothing

Obesity, depression, high blood pressure, and asthma are just a few of the chronic health conditions that are now affecting almost 40 million Americans between the ages of 18 and 34, federal data shows.

“Existing studies have likely underestimated the mortality consequences of living in a country where cheap, unhealthy food has grown increasingly accessible, and sedentary lifestyles have become the norm,” says study author Ryan Masters, an associate professor of sociology at CU Boulder, in a university release.

In this new study of weight’s link to health, Masters examined data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 1988 to 2015. This study included information on 17,784 people, 4,468 of who died.

One in five in the “healthy” weight category had been overweight or obese over the past decade. Results show that these individuals, in particular, had a much worse health profile than other participants whose weight remained stable throughout the study.

Interestingly, results also show that carrying excess weight for a lifetime makes someone more likely to develop diseases that cause rapid weight loss. Therefore, if scientists look at BMI data during this time, Masters says it can skew scientific studies.

Uh, about those obesity drugs…

As more people buy into the social media hype around weight loss drugs, two things seem to be happening. First, physicians are questioning their use, saying that some of their patients are gaining more weight after stopping use, and second, more users are reporting side effects. Finally, some people on social media are spreading the word that these drugs require diet and exercise to be effective.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been talking to some physicians about prescribing weight loss drugs, and I’m hearing they are concerned that the message about diet and exercise is becoming lost. They are also worried that the patients who need it aren’t able to afford it or find it because of shortages.