Failure to address the growing obesity epidemic in America could result in an erosion of the steady gain in life expectancy and quality of life observed since the early 20th century, according to a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine.
In the study, researchers at Harvard and University of Michigan forecasted life expectancy and quality-adjusted life expectancy for a representative 18-year-old assuming a continuation of past trends in smoking and obesity. in the end, the negative effects of increasing body-mass index overwhelmed the positive effects of declines in smoking over the past 15 years.
But the most eye-popping finding was:
If all U.S. adults became nonsmokers of normal weight by 2020, their life expectancy would be forecast to increase by 3.76 years or 5.16 quality-adjusted years.