New research shows that we may have just extinguished one toxic habit for another equally deadly one.
Since 2014, obesity seems to have led to more deaths than smoking did. This is according to new research revealed in the journal BMC Public Health.
Between the years of 2003 and 2017, deaths caused by smoking seem to have lowered from 23.1 percent to 19.4 percent. During this same period, deaths linked to obesity have risen from 17.9 percent to 23.1 percent.
2014 is the first year where more people died due to a obesity for the first time in history.
Researchers from the University of Glasgow analyzed data on 192,239 adults who were over 50 years old. By combining this information with estimates of the risk of dying from smoking versus obesity, they were able to find an estimate for the deaths attributable to each.
While obesity likely accounts for more deaths for people over 45, the researchers stated that smoking seems to be a bigger killer for adults under 44.
And men were disproportionately affected. Deaths from obesity are thought to have increased by 31 percent for men of all ages, compared to only 25.9 percent for women.
“The rise in deaths due to obesity is probably because of their contributions to cardiovascular disease and cancer,” said the study’s author Jill Pell.
“Our research shows that public health interventions aimed at lowering smoking have worked well and that strategies to solve obesity should now be the public health priority.”