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In an economic crash, public health improves
Date:4/10/2013

ba, were conducted in 1991 (1,657 participants) 1995 (1,351 participants), 2001 (1,667 participants) and 2011 (1,492 participants).

During the economic crisis years, 80 percent of the population was classified as physically active. That has since dropped to the current rate of 55 percent. The percentage of the population that was overweight or obese increased from 33.5 percent in 1995 to 52.9 percent in 2011.

Following the economic crisis years, mortality from coronary heart disease decreased sharply, at a rate of 6.5 percent per year. But after 2002, the rate of decline slowed to 1.4 percent per year, similar to pre-crisis years.

"The Cuban experience demonstrates that within a relatively short period, modest weight loss in the whole population can have a profound effect on the overall burden of diabetes," researchers wrote. "In Cuba, weight loss also had a major effect on trends in cardiovascular diseases and all-cause of mortality."

Researchers conclude that their findings provide a "dramatic illustration of the potential health benefits of reversing the global obesity epidemic."

In an accompanying editorial, Walter C. Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health writes that the findings "add powerful evidence that a reduction in overweight and obesity would have major population-wide benefits. To achieve this is perhaps the major public health and societal challenge of the century."


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Contact: Jim Ritter
jritter@lumc.edu
708-216-2445
Loyola University Health System
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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