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Studies show growing toll of obesity

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Obesity, which once affected only a small part of the U.S. population, has become so prevalent that it's culturally entrenched - and that means its terrifying consequences can be easy to ignore on a day-to-day basis.

Nevertheless, a major study seems to surface every month or so that sounds the alarm on the public health crisis. The latest? Researchers at Columbia University and The City College of New York said in a release today the number of quality-adjusted life years lost due to obesity more than doubled between 1993 and 2008. Over the same time, the obesity prevalence for U.S. adults increased from 14.1 to 26.7 percent:

Black women had the most QALYs lost due to obesity, at 0.0676 per person in 2008, which was 31% higher than QALYs lost in black men and about 50% higher than QALYs lost in white women and white men. A direct correlation between obesity- related QALYs lost and the percentage of the population reporting no leisure-time physical activity at the state level also was found.

In a separate report released today, the CDC said obesity prevalence has topped 30 percent in nine states, bringing the total number of excessively overweight Americans to about 75 million.

Obesity is defined by a body mass index of 30 or higher. It's a serious risk factor for cardiovascular disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes.

Photo by Tobyotter

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