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Smoking Coupled With Obesity Raises Death Risk
Date:11/7/2008

with normal weight people who never smoked. In addition, among smokers with a large waist, the risk of dying was five times greater than among people with the smallest waists who never smoked, Koster's team found.

Dr. Norman H. Edelman, a professor of preventive medicine, internal medicine, physiology & biophysics at Stony Brook University in New York and chief medical officer at the American Lung Association, thinks that if you have to choose between losing weight or stopping smoking, you should stop smoking.

"Especially important is the finding that smoking cessation has a great effect on lowering risk of dying, one which far outweighs the slight increased risk from the associated increase in weight," Edelman said. "Also to note, if one is obese and smokes and has to choose between weight loss and smoking cessation to improve health, the latter will have a greater protective effect," he added.

Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine, agreed that people can do simple things to improve their health and life span.

"We have long known that a surprisingly short list of potentially modifiable behaviors holds sway over an enormous range of mortality risk," Katz said. "Together, tobacco use, physical activity and dietary pattern are major determinants of the probable quality, and quantity, or our lives."

This report reaffirms the strong interactive effects of smoking and excess body fat on the risk of death, Katz said.

"If you are overweight and smoke, fixing either one can markedly improve your chances for a normal life span," Katz said. "Fix both, and the probability of benefit is huge. The message is clear: We all have the power to choose a better medical destiny."

More information

For more information on smoking, visit the U.S. National Institutes of Health'/>"/>

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