It was a provocative prediction that due to the obesity epidemic Baby Boomers may outlive their children.
But a new study by the University of Michigan Health System on obesity trends shows Americans are getting heavier younger and carrying the extra weight for longer periods over their lifetime.
As a result, the study suggests the impact on chronic diseases and life expectancy may be worse than previously thought. The findings will be published April 12 in the International Journal of Obesity.
Researchers used a wide range of national data on children and adults born between 1926 and 2005 to reveal the troubling trend of younger generations becoming obese earlier in life than their parents and grandparents.
According to the study, 20 percent of those born 1966-1985 were obese by ages 20-29. Among their parents, those born 1946-1955, that level of obesity was not reached until ages 30-39, not until ages 40-49 for individuals born between 1936-1945, and obesity prevalence was even later – during the 50’s – for those born between 1926-1935.
Further research is needed to understand the future effect the obesity trend will have on diabetes rates and mortality.
“Many people have heard that Americans are getting heavier,” says lead author Joyce Lee, M.D., M.P.H., a pediatric endocrinologist at the U-M C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases at the U-M Medical School. “But it’s very important to understand who the obesity epidemic is affecting.
“Our research indicates that higher numbers of young and middle-age American adults are becoming obese at younger and younger ages,” she says.
Evidence shows body mass index, a calculation of fat and weight, increases with age, and children who are obese are more likely to become obese adults.
Obesity is a well-known contributor to type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, disability and premature death.
The prediction, made in 2005, for a reduced life expectancy in the 21st century, was based on obesity prevalence from the period 1988-1994, the mid-point of the obesity epidemic, and included much older adults, born 1885-1976, a generation that had much lower obesity rates over their lifetime.
The federally funded U-M study shows obesity trends were worse for women and blacks, a bad sign for reversing racial disparities in health, U-M authors say. Among 20-29-year-olds, born 1976-1985, 20 percent of whites were obese compared to 35 percent of blacks in that age group.
“What is particularly worrisome is that obesity trends are worse for blacks compared to whites,” Lee says. “Black Americans already experience a higher burden of obesity-related diseases and the obesity trends will likely magnify those racial disparities in health.”
Additional authors: Subrahmanyam Pilli, Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit in the U-M Division of Pediatrics; Carla C. Keirns, Department of Preventative Medicine, Stony Brook University; Matthew M. Davis, M.D., M.A.P.P., associate professor of pediatrics and communicable diseases and internal medicine at the U-M Medical School, co-director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program at the U-M, faculty investigator of CHEAR, and associate professor of public policy at U-M’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy; Sandeep Vijan, M.D., M.S., associate professor of internal medicine at U-M Medical School; Gary Freed, M.D., MPH, professor of pediatrics and communicable diseases, and director of the CHEAR unit, William H. Herman, M.D., MPH, professor of internal medicine at the U-M Medical School and professor of epidemiology at the U-M School of Public Health; and James Gurney, Ph.D., associate professor of pediatrics and communicable diseases.
Funding: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and the Clinical Sciences Scholars Program of University of Michigan
Reference: International Journal of Obesity, Issue, 34.4, April 12, 2010. Details on the research results and a slideslow of figures are available at www.heavieryounger.comResources:
Shantell M. Kirkendoll | EurekAlert!
The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences