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Obesity Health Risks Comparable To Smoking

(Credit: Thinkstock)

(Credit: Thinkstock)

(Dr. Brian McDonough) Dr. Brian McDonough
Dr. Brian McDonough has been medical editor at KYW Newsradio for more...
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By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - We know that cigarettes are bad for us and can increase disease and death especially when compared to non-smokers. But what about obesity – just how risky is it?

A Swedish study found that men who were obese at age 18 had the same risk for premature death as those who were heavy smokers – more than ten cigarettes a day. Those who were overweight at age 18 had the same risk for premature death as those who were less heavy smokers – that’s 10 or fewer cigarettes per day.

The study followed 46,000 men and followed them for almost 40 years.

Compared to those who were a normal weight at age 18, those who were obese had more than double the odds for premature death. That’s similar to heavy smokers. Those who were overweight increased their risk by about one third.

Being obese and a heavy smoker increased the odds of premature death by five times.

Lifestyle can play a major role in your overall health.

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