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!
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
21.08.2017 | Medical Engineering
21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
21.08.2017 | Life Sciences