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Wednesday 26th October 2016

Smoking and obesity in the USA

12th May 2006

12052006_obesityandsmoking1.jpgA study published on bmj.com finds that over 80 million American adults are putting themselves at serious risk of long-term illness and early death through smoking, obesity, or both.

Although smoking and obesity are two of the leading causes of death and illness in the United States, the overlap between the two conditions has never been measured. Researchers used data from the 2002 national health interview survey to estimate the proportion of adults in the US who smoke and are obese. The results were stratified for various factors, such as education and income levels.

They found that 23.5% of adults were obese and 22.7% smoked (a total of 81 million). About 4.7% (9 million) smoked and were obese. This proportion was particularly high in people with lower income and education levels and in African Americans (7%). The authors say that although this overlap is relatively low, the presence of these two conditions together may carry an increased risk to health.

They add that treatments for people who smoke and who are obese need to be investigated. Clinical trials should monitor the effects of programmes aimed simultaneously at weight control and stopping smoking. The results could be used to develop policies for prevention and treatment.

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