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Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 21:24 EDT

Obesity Killing Non-Smoking Women

June 30, 2011

(Ivanhoe Newswire)– Obesity is an important contributor to premature death in women who have never smoked, especially among women in low income groups. Now a study is questioning the causes of premature death for women in certain social positions who have never smoked.

Dr. Laurence Gruer from NHS Health Scotland and his colleagues reviewed the cases of 3,613 women who had never smoked. During the follow-up period of 28 years, half of the women died, including 916 from diseases of the heart and circulation and 487 from cancer. The results show that women in lower occupational groups who were non-smokers were more likely to die from heart disease and were also more likely to be severely obese compared to the women who smoked.

Dr. Gruer commented that where obesity is more common in disadvantaged groups, it may contribute to health inequalities and increase the burden on local health and social services.

It is important to note just how bad smoking is, even if this study concluded a higher number of deaths resulted from obesity.

Professor Johan Mackenbach from the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam was quoted as saying, “It is important not to forget that smoking is a much stronger risk factor for mortality than most other risk factors”¦inequalities in mortality persist among those who have never smoked partly because obesity takes over the role of smoking, but they persist at a much lower level, and that is good news for whoever wants to reduce health inequalities.”

SOURCE: British Medical Journal, June 28, 2011