A recent study has found that obesity is responsible for shortening of lifespan in humans more than smoking and other reasons. The researchers from Cleveland Clinic and New York University School of Medicine found that obesity resulted in as much as 47 percent more life-years lost than tobacco, and tobacco caused similar life-years lost as high blood pressure. Preliminary work presented at the 2017 Society of General Internal Medicine Annual Meeting analyzed the contribution of modifiable behavioral risk factors to causes-of-death in the U.S. population, using 2014 data.Based on this preliminary work, the team found the greatest number of preventable life-years lost were due to (in order from greatest to least) obesity, diabetes, tobacco use, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. However, researchers also noted that some individuals may have needs that are very different than those of the broader U.S. population. For an obese and alcoholic patient, for example, alcohol use may be more important to address than obesity, even though obesity has a greater impact on the population. Results highlight the clinical and public health achievement of smoking cessation efforts because 15 years ago, tobacco would have topped the list.

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