Persistence of weight gain should be measured

| 23/08/2011

(BBC): Experts say the health hazards of obesity may have been grossly underestimated because we are not measuring the condition adequately. Risk calculations have focused on severity of weight gain alone and not how long it persists. Latest research suggests every additional decade of being obese more than doubles death risk. The researchers told the International Journal of Epidemiology a new measure is needed – the "obese-year".  Similar to the "pack-year" used for smoking, it gives a further quantification that can be used to help estimate the associated health risks.

A quarter of UK adults are overweight. And one in 10 children younger than 11 in England are obese.

The government says that if the current rate of growth continues, three quarters of the population could suffer the ill effects of excess weight within 10 to 15 years. But Dr Asnawi Abdullah, from Monash University in Australia, and colleagues believe the toll is larger than this because estimates have failed to factor in duration of obesity.

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