Life expectancy rising despite obesity epidemic

18 March 2011

Life expectancy in the UK has increased dramatically and is continuing to rise - despite the growing problem of obesity.

According to new research conducted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, which was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, there has been a marked decline in the number of deaths resulting from poor heart health - a major factor behind the increase in life expectancy.

People in the UK are now living longer than their counterparts in the US, the research showed.

Professor David Leon, lead author of the new study, said: "[The UK has seen] some of the largest and most rapid falls of any Western European country, partly due to improvements in treatment as well as reductions in smoking and other risk factors."

However, he claimed that the trend of improved health could be jeopardised as we begin to see the health impact of a "generation of people who have been obese from childhood through to adulthood".

Recently, Professor John Danesh from Cambridge University cast doubt on the impact obesity can have on a person's heart health.

Posted by Edward Bartel

1 Leon, David. "Trends in European life expectancy: a salutary view". International Journal of Epidemiology. Thursday, March 17th 2011.

2 Danesh, John et al. "Separate and combined associations of body-mass index and abdominal adiposity with cardiovascular disease: collaborative analysis of 58 prospective studies". The Lancet. Thursday, March 11th 2011.

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