Several recent studies have shown that life expectancy in the United States is not improving at a rate comparable to that in other wealthy nations, despite medical advances and efforts to reduce smoking.
Rising obesity are to blame for the lack of improvement, contributing to about 186,000 deaths in the United States each year, suggests a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and conducted by University of Pennsylvania and Boston University researchers.
For the study, researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted between 1988 to 1994 and 1999 to 2010, and the associated death records through 2011. Overall, the study involved 25,269 adults aged 40 to 79. After calculating lifetime body mass index (BMI) for study participants, the researchers determined U.S. mortality rates would have declined a half-percentage point faster each year, if obesity rates had not increased.