Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
The New York Times recently reported on a study highlighting the increasing risks for overweight teens – they’re as likely to die by age 60 as those who smoke lightly. Obese teens, like heavy smokers, have a double risk of an early death. This is a different set of results compared to other recent studies suggesting that those who are overweight were not at a higher risk of premature death.
Originally published in the British Medical Journal, the study tracked the death rates of 45,290 Swedish men over 38 years. The study only included men enrolling in the Swedish Army in 1969 and 1970, but compared the risk to normal-weight recruits who smoked a half a pack of cigarettes or more a day (aka “heavy” smokers).
Critics are pointing out that because health behaviors are established earlier in life, those overweight at age 18 may have become obese and thus the deaths may reflect the risk of obesity, rather than being a result of being overweight as teens.