Written by futurity.org Monday, 11 July 2011 20:53
As the population becomes heavier faster, people are living more of their lives with risks associated with obesity, such as Type II diabetes.
The obesity epidemic in the United States may end the nearly century-long steady climb in life expectancy, according to new research.
A study published in the journal Health Affairs says in order to accurately forecast future lifespans and to map out health policy decisions, it is essential to consider the health of the younger generation.
“Our analysis shows that health declines and reduced life expectancies will occur without aggressive public health action,” says Yang Yang, associate professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Forecasting now looks at death rates for each age at a given year or years to predict future death rates.
“Traditional forecasting assumes that when today’s children reach the age of 70, they will have the same mortality rate as people who are 70 today,” Yang said.
The researchers used the traditional forecasting method to predict cardiovascular disease death rates among men after the year 2000. Then they sought the same information using their new model, which also accounted for the health status of younger populations.
Their method was found to be more accurate, correctly predicting an increase in cardiovascular death rates for men between the ages of 25 and 29. This may be because younger men have been more affected by the obesity epidemic than their predecessors.