MONDAY, Feb. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Young adults and teens who smoke, are obese and have high blood sugar levels may be more likely to die before they reach their 55th birthday, new government research suggests.
The findings are concerning when viewed in context of the rising rates of childhood obesity in the United States. Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years, according to the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. As a result, diseases and conditions previously only seen in adults are increasingly being diagnosed in children. These include high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.
"Given the numbers of youth who are obese, this is a concern," said the study's author, Dr. Sharon Saydah, a CDC senior scientist. "Any time somebody dies before age 55, it has an overall societal impact."
The average life expectancy in the United States is 78.7, according to the CDC.
The report was published online Feb. 18 and will be in the March print issue of the journal Pediatrics.
Saydah and her colleagues analyzed data on close to 9,250 people who took part in the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
Participants were aged 12 to 39 when the study was conducted. Of these, more than 15 percent were obese, and 30 percent were smokers. Overall, 298 of the participants died before they turned 55.
Those who smoked between the ages of 12 and 39 had an 86 percent greater risk of dying before 55, compared with those who did not, the data showed. Those who were obese when they were young had a 39 percent higher likelihood of dying before 55, compared with those not obese during these early years. In addition, the risk of dying before 55 tripled among those with high blood sugar levels between the ages of 12 to 39, the study showed. High blood pressure and high
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