Obesity crisis: obesity causes more deaths than smoking

Obesity causes 47% more early deaths than tobacco – according to research by Cleveland Clinic and the New York University School of Medicine.

The researchers said that tobacco would have topped the list if it wasn’t for the global push to limit cigarette use – and experts are calling for a similar push on obesity.

A survey by Marsden last year revealed that 66% of GPs and pharmacies see four or more obese patients every day.

The new study

The obesity crisis is costing the NHS more than £5bn per year - and can lead to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancers and mental illness.

In this new study, researchers examined the change in mortality for a series of hypothetical populations that each eliminated a single risk factor. They compared the result with the changes in life-years lost for an ‘optimal’ population that eliminated all modifiable risk factors.

Dr Glen Taksler, internal medicine researcher from Cleveland Clinic, said: “The reality is, while we may know the proximate cause of a patient’s death, for example, breast cancer or heart attack, we don’t always know the contributing factor(s), such as tobacco use, obesity, alcohol and family history.

“For each major cause of death, we identified a root cause to understand whether there was a way a person could have lived longer.”

What can be done?

According to Tam Fry from the National Obesity Forum, patients are not well enough informed about obesity.

“People in general aren’t well informed about the comorbidities of obesity. They don’t know the risks if you’re overweight and the risks of complications from that.

“Pharmacists need to be able to strike up conversations about weight in a sensitive way. Community pharmacies see their customers frequently so are well placed to offer the best advice.”

The Government has previously said that GPs should weigh a patient ‘by default’ when they have an appointment.

As the leading supplier of weighing scales to the NHS, Marsden provide a range of medical scales suitable for weighing patients. You can find out more about choosing the right scale accuracy for a specific purpose by reading this white paper.

The Marsden M-550 is our most affordable Class III Approved scale. It is a personal scale ideal for use in GP surgeries with five times the accuracy of traditional mechanical scales. The scale has a wide weighing platform, 160kg capacity and BMI function.

The Marsden M-430 is a portable, built-to-last floor scale, ideal for GPs and health centres. The scale has a 220kg capacity and 200g graduations, a non-slip surface and optional Bluetooth to transfer weight data to a PC.  A carry case is available, too.

Alternatively, our newest floor scale is the Marsden M-545. This scale features a new Body Surface Area (BSA) function, which is unique to Marsden scales – meaning it is ideal for calculating medical dosages - as well as weight and BMI. With 100g accuracy, this scale is perfect for GP surgeries and clinics.

View our full range of GP scales here.

For more information on any of our scales, call 01709 364296 or contact us here.

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