Obese Teens Dying Younger Than National Average

Good news. We're all living longer.  Except for obese teens, it turns out.

According to newswise.com, "Although people live longer today than they did 50 years ago, people who were overweight and obese as teenagers aren’t experiencing the same gains as other segments of the population."

The life expectancy of the average American born in 2011 was 78.7 years, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up from about 50 at the turn of the last century. The average lifespan has increased by more than a decade since 1950, but rising obesity rates threaten to take a toll on this progress.

“In studying the rate of death among adults younger than age 50, we found that there was no improvement among men who were overweight or obese as teenagers,” newswise quotes one of the study’s authors, Amir Tirosh, MD, PhD, of the Division of Endocrinology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA. “In fact, the mortality rate among overweight and obese teenagers in the years 2000 to 2010 was as high as the rate observed in the 1960s and 1970s.”

Researchers found mortality rates were 41 percent lower among normal weight teenagers who were born in the 1980s than teens of a similar weight who were born thirty years earlier. "But among those who were overweight or obese as teenagers, there was no significant improvement in the survival rate over the course of four decades," the Web site reports.
In addition, the study found overweight and obese teenagers had a higher risk of death before the age of 50. Among boys, even those with weights at the upper end of the normal range faced a greater risk of dying relatively early in adulthood.
The CDC points out that obesity rates have quadrupled for adolescents in the last 30 years.
So where it is all coming from?  Blame sugary sodas, lack of exercise, more processed foods.  The list goes on and on.  
I was a heavy (not obese) child back in the '50s and '60s who grew into a teen with an eating disorder (I barely weighed 100 soaking wet).  I'm not sure that's the answer either.  I've fought the weight battle all my  life, and thankfully, my son is so skinny his grandmoter (my mother-in-law) asked if it's because I feed him dog food.  But that's a story for another day.
Still, even though he has good eating habits (lots of fruit, won't eat processed food, though he has discovered Fritos, plays soccer), it can always change.  My husband was a rail as a kid and teen and now he fights an expanding waistline, too.
So, try to eat healthy.  Forget the fad diets (you just put the weight back on when you go back to normal eating, anyway).  Get a daily dose of exercise.  And try to move around more during the day, like five minutes every hour.  Another scary fact: researchers have found that too much sitting can be as deadly as smoking cigarettes.


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