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Weight Gain Eroding Americans' Quality of Life
Date:8/3/2010

By Ellin Holohan
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Aug. 3 (HealthDay News) -- As Americans' average weight keeps rising, their quality of life is falling, according to new research.

The nationwide study found that the number of healthy days per year that Americans lose due to obesity has more than doubled over the past two decades, from about 7.5 in 1993 to 17 in 2008.

Researchers calculated the amount of healthy time lost, in addition to noting trends of increasing obesity across the country in all racial and ethnic groups for men and women in every state.

While the findings support a general trend, some groups were more seriously affected. Obesity has caused black women to lose the greatest amount of time spent in good health (more than 24 fewer such days per year). That number is 31 percent higher than for black men, who lost the second highest amount of healthy time due to being obese, and 50 percent higher than that of whites.

Most of women's healthy days lost to obesity were due to illness, while most of the men's loss was due to early death, the study found.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 39 percent of black women and 31 percent of black men are now obese. Hispanics, with an obesity rate of 29 percent, tend to be slightly more obese than whites, at 24 percent, according to the CDC. But the amount of lost healthy time was about the same for both groups in the study.

The findings support the notion that obesity could overwhelm recent advances in public health, a researcher said.

"The gains being made on the burden on our health-care system by decreases in smoking could be eroded by the progression of obesity if we don't have lots of interventions in place," noted Dr. Erica I. Lubetkin, co-author of the study published in the September issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

In the report, the researchers looked at data
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