obesity deaths rise

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Sharp rise in obesity-related deaths

There has been a sharp rise in obesity-related deaths in England, according to new research from the University of Oxford.

Data from death certificates from 1995–2006 showed obesity related deaths increased by an average annual rate of 7.5 per cent for men and by 4 per cent for women. 

Researchers say the increase was revealed because, in addition to including the main cause of death, they also looked at contributing causes of death. In fact, they think there were likely to be many more obesity-related deaths than recorded since obesity was rarely listed as the main cause.

Obesity increases health risks including high blood pressure, diabetes, gallstones, liver disease, coronary artery disease and certain cancers.

In Great Britain, obesity prevelance has almost trebled over the last quarter of a century. Figures from the Health Survey for England 2007 show that 24 per cent of men and 25 per cent of women were classified as obese.

The authors of the study said: "There is an emerging trend of increased certification of obesity as a cause of death in England. The use of underlying-cause mortality statistics alone fails to capture the majority of obesity deaths."

Source: Certification of obesity as a cause of death in England 1979-2006, M. Duncan, M. Griffith, H. Rutter and M. J. Goldacre, The European Journal of Public Health Advance Access published online on February 2, 2010

Topics: Lifestyle

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