Last updated on 11th April 2009
Here are five papers mostly looking at aspects of overweight. The first, published recently in the Lancet, is a huge study on the effects of body-mass index (BMI) on subsequent mortality in nearly 900,000 adults. It shows progressive excess mortality above the BMI range 22.5-25 kg/m2. (To calculate your BMI click here). At 40-45 kg/m2, the reduction in life expectancy of 8-10 years is comparable to the effects of being a smoker. The second paper, by Neovius et al, also involved large numbers - over 45,000 older adolescents. Again it showed excess mortality at long term follow-up, and commented "Obesity and overweight were as hazardous as heavy and light smoking, respectively". The third study by Katseva et al looked at modifiable risk factors in European patients with cardiac disease. The findings were depressing with obesity, for example, increasing stepwise from 25% at first survey, to 32.6% at second, to 38% at third survey. Overall the authors concluded "These time trends show a compelling need for more effective lifestyle management of patients with coronary heart disease ... To salvage the acutely ischaemic myocardium without addressing the underlying causes of the disease is futile; we need to invest in prevention."