A recently concluded study by researchers at Columbia University and The City College of New York has found that being overweight is now the leading cause of preventable disease. The study—which looked at survey data from more than 3.5 million American adults over a 16 year window—found that for the first time overweight has edged out smoking as the leading contributor to illness. This is due to the rapid rise in the degree of overweight and obesity in the U.S.
As stated in a review of the findings by Scientific American:
When the survey started, in 1993, smoking was by far the leading cause of preventable death and disease. But by the study’s conclusion, in 2008, obesity had tipped the scales—increasing in prevalence by 85 percent—to become the primary cause of preventable illnesses and poor health-related quality of life.
Findings such as these add even more urgency to the call for proven behavior change programs such as incentaHEALTH that can help individuals and organizations improve their health.
The full story can be found on Scientific American’s web site.