Although the prevalence of obesity and obesity-attributable deaths has steadily increased, the resultant burden of disease associated with obesity has not been well understood. A new study published in the September issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine indicates that Quality-Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) lost to U.S. adults due to morbidity and mortality from obesity have more than doubled from 1993-2008 and the prevalence of obesity has increased 89.9% during the same period.

Using data from the 1993-2008 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, the largest ongoing state- based health survey of U.S. adults, Haomiao Jia, PhD, Columbia University, and Erica I. Lubetkin, MD, MPH, The City College of New York, examined trends in the burden of obesity by estimating the obesity-related QALYs lost, defined as the sum of QALYs lost due to morbidity and future QALYs lost in expected life years due to premature deaths, among U.S. adults. They found the overall health burden of obesity has significantly increased since 1993 and such increases were observed in all gender and race/ethnicity subgroups and across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

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